At a time when European operators are trying to drive high-ARPU smartphone uptake, seniors' reticence to adopt data-hungry devices represents a missed revenue opportunity.
In Europe, "smartphone penetration in the 55-to-65 age group is less than 20%. In the 65-plus category it's less than 2%," claimed Fujitsu's EMEA product marketing director, James Maynard.
"That surprised me," he told Total Telecom on the sidelines of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday. "It means there is a significant group within that age-range that is not catered for, that faces a choice between very basic feature phones or very complicated smartphones, but does not want either."
He said Fujitsu aims to address a segment of consumers that "don't want to be left behind by technology".
The Japan-based electronics maker announced last year its intention to bring its Raku Raku (Japanese for 'easy easy') handsets to Europe, and last week it signed a multi-country partnership with Orange that will see its latest smartphone hit the shelves in France in June.
Going under the same name that Fujitsu has adopted for the tablets and laptops it offers in Europe, the mid-range Stylistic S01 is packed with hardware, software and services that make it easier for older consumers to get to grips with the smartphone experience.
On the hardware side, Fujitsu has incorporated what it calls its human-centric engine. A collection of more than 50 individual technologies, it does everything from make the touchscreen easier to use by emitting focused vibrations right under the user's finger, to monitoring the background noise levels so it can employ the appropriate noise-cancelling technique. It also optimises the frequency of the sound a voice call emits from the speaker according to the user's age because older people struggle to hear higher-frequency sounds, and even fractionally increases the tiny silences between words so the person you are speaking to sounds as though they are enunciating more clearly over the phone.
On the software and services side, the Stylistic S01 runs a version of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) that has been heavily-modified to make it more intuitive and simple to use, while pre-loaded apps and news and