Jitterbug offers less-technical option for cell phone users

Now there is a cell phone for those who don’t want all the bells and whistles, something easy to operate and even easier to figure out: Jitterbug.

Marty Cooper, the inventor of the first mobile phone in 1973 when he was general manager of communications for Motorola, and his wife, Arlene Harris, are founders of Jitterbug. The goal of the new company is to make cell phone users more comfortable with wireless technology by making it easier to access.

“This phone comfortably fits in your hand, and you can open it without your glasses on and read the numbers,” said Cooper. “Want to know whether there’s a signal or not? You don’t have to look around for a bar. Put the phone up to your ear. If there’s a dial tone, you got a signal.”

Cooper said Jitterbug is designed to be simple enough to figure out without consulting a complicated manual. He added the phone has other built-in, user-friendly features. One is that the contour of the Jitterbug phone cups your ear to keep exterior noises out.

Jitterbug phones are practical for older, less tech-savvy users. But they’re really designed for people of all ages who prefer stripped-down cell phones that minimize costs while providing essential features and accessories. “A lot of people, whether they’re oldsters or youngsters, just want a great phone that you can use outside the home that is simple,” said Arlene Harris.

Harris said the Jitterbug phone harkens back to old-fashioned, land-line phone service. “What we’ve done actually is to implement a service that’s more like a phone service you had at home years ago when you had operators that knew who you are,” she said.

Harris said Jitterbug offers two primary phone designs. The most basic is a dedicated dialing phone with just three buttons to be used for emergency service. The second model has a full keypad with four extra keys, yes or no and up or down. “There are no multi-purpose buttons, no icons,” she said. “We’ve really tried to take away a lot of the learning and guessing that you have to do. It’s designed to make calls, receive calls and get voice mail.”

The most basic Jitterbug features can, however, be added on to. “It’s your phone, the way you want it,” said Harris. “We have the services you want. It’s just a matter of turning features on and off in the phone.”

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