Want an older relative to use the computer, send e-mail, and chat online with you? The SimplicITy computer is made just for them. It is aimed at people aged over 60 who are unfamiliar with personal computers. The computer is as basic as you can get it. You just take it out of the box, plug it in and it all loads for you.
As the name implies, the SimplicITy computer is very simple to operate as it has only six icons on the desktop. The six buttons direct users to basic tasks, such as e-mail and chat. It has no log-in screen when it starts up, contains no drop-down menus and comes pre-loaded with 17 video tutorials. The e-mail system is a modified version of an Italian design called Eldy. All SimplicITy users with an eldy.org address will be able to chat to each other via the "chat" button.
The computer seems to be standard PC hardware but runs a specialized version of Mint Linux, not Windows. The use of Linux means that the systems are less vulnerable to viruses and spyware compared to other systems. The operating system has a new desktop made for non-computer-literate users that displays large icons such as email, browse the web, chat, tutorials etc. If the user thinks he messed up somewhere, he can quickly refer to the videos done by 72-year-old Valerie Singleton or go back to the desktop by clicking on the Square One icon on the top of all screens.
If you ever have a problem or simply get lost in the programs, you can just go “back to Square One” at any time and start all over again. Once users are comfortable using the computer they can opt to stop using the square one start page and go directly to the Linux desktop.
The producing company points out that more than 6 million people in the UK over the age of 65 have never used the Internet, according to British government figures. This computer is aimed at that market.
Andrew Harrop, head of public policy for charity Age Concern and Help the Aged said efforts to get older people online should be "applauded.”
"Pensioners who aren't online are missing out on hundreds of pounds in potential savings by shopping around and can also often miss out on the best interest rates for savings accounts, not to mention the social benefits of being online," he said.
So far the SimplicITy computer system is only available in the UK and in Europe. Within hours of the launch the company said it had received interest from several nursing home chains interested in installing the machines in communal areas, as well as approaches from Germany, the US and Canada.
Introduced several months ago, two versions of the simplicITy computers are now available: £435.99 (about $600 US) and £525.99 (nearly $800 US). The price is slightly higher than the market average for a simple desktop computer, but Discount Age claims that its benefits – which include 17 video tutorials recorded by Singleton – justify the premium.
For more information, go to http://www.discount-age.co.uk/simplicity_computers/ or watch the video below.