There arrived the other day a prototype computer of the future (below). Evaluating the very nice MacBook-Air-like Google CR-48 prototype laptop got me thinking. What would the computer of the future for seniors look like?
Well, it would simply address many of the concerns I deal with in helping seniors use computers. Seniors, by the way, are the biggest untapped market for computers. They also need to keep connected. And they can afford to.
The future senior computer would be a tried and true shape: a book. The size and shape of a book has proved itself practical over centuries. Thin computers are beautiful but the thinness places too much unwieldy weight in the center of the senior grip. Thickness is better for older grips.
There needs also to be a handle on the thing. Simple.
The keyboard would have full-size keys but shortened in width only from q to p. The same keyboard needs to toggle to an alternative keyboard in alphabetical order for those who never learned to type.
Within the added thickness there needs to be space inside for a small auxiliary mouse, tiny but loud speaker, earphones, mp3 player, maybe things like a hearing aid. Seniors need all this with them. Of course, the computer could serve as a hearing aid.
The touch screen would be the matt glareless KIndle screen but oolor. The down-to-earth ChromeOs with the simple app buttons would be the default. There might be be a dual boot with Ubuntu for those who need a heavy duty word processor (seniors do a lot of writing). There needs to be a hierarchical tree screen directory of app buttons to make it easy to find the app you want.
There would be a quick and simple way to load up your mp3 player. One window with the computer files at left and the player files at right. The device needs to serve as a cell phone. The ChromeOs was probably actually inspired by smart phones. Let it be one.
No reason not to include Google’s GPS navigator. Cloud printing would work directly with wireless printers.
The integral case would protect the device without another redundant outer case as well.
Now, that would WORK for seniors!! Maybe everybody else, too!