New App Helps Elderlies Use Tablets Easily

November 13, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. start-up /stɑrt ʌp/ (n.) – a newly created business
Example: The new device is the product of a start-up formed just last year.

2. overwhelm / oʊvɚˈwɛlm/ (v.) – to have too many things to do or to handle
Example: The complicated features of the smartphone overwhelmed my grandfather.

3. remotely /rɪˈmoʊtli/ (adv.) – in a far or distant manner
Example: Some companies offer a service to remotely fix a customer’s gadget.

4. vital /ˈvaɪt l/ (adj.) – being important and necessary
Example: The Internet plays a vital role in work and in school.

5. solely /ˈsoʊl li/ (adv.) – in a single or exclusive way
Example: The new game was designed solely for Apple users.


Read the text below.
A French-Romanian start-up has created a solution for elderlies struggling with the use of tablets.

Some people, especially the elderly, find the Internet technology difficult to use. French IT expert Stephane Lucon [ste-FAN LU-sawn] recalled how his grandmother found it difficult to use a tablet or a desktop computer to communicate with his family. Because of this, he decided to simplify computer usage for the elderly by establishing the company called Hubert [HYOO-bert].

According to Lucon, many elderlies get overwhelmed with the several programs displayed on the screen of gadgets like tablets. To solve this issue, he worked with Romanian IT developer Petre Nicolescu [PIT-re ni-ko-LES-ku] to create a new and more simplified tablet screen launcher. This app hides unused programs and displays only the buttons of the user’s preferred programs.

In addition, Hubert provides a support service to assist users and let representatives remotely control users’ tablets. By pressing the “help” button, a user can talk to an assistant through a call. Hubert’s support service costs $20 for basic monthly subscription.

According to a Pew [pyu] Research Center report conducted in April, only 37 percent of the US citizens over 80 years old use the Internet. With many seniors expected to struggle in using modern technology, an app beneficial for the elderlies like Hubert system is considered vital.

In 2013, US retail company Amazon included a “Mayday” alarm button for its tablet called Kindle [KIN-dl]. The button provides the user with live technical support. Lucon clarified that Hubert’s interface can be used by any Android tablet, unlike Mayday, which is solely for Kindle.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you want to use this app when you get old? Why or why not?
·         Should companies keep developing programs that ease elderlies’ gadget usage? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think seniors struggle with modern technology?
·         Would you encourage seniors to be updated with current gadgets? Why or why not? 

November 13, 2014