grandPad Keeps the Senior Set Social

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There’s a decent chance that when you generalize about what seniors know or don’t know about technology you’re going to get it wrong. I’ve met nonagenarians who are on their smartphones, tablets, and Facebook all the time. I’ve met 65 year-olds who are upset they can no longer get the Yellow Pages. For many seniors, grabbing a standard issue iPad or Android tablet makes perfect sense. They can add their own apps, surf the web, do Facetime or Skype with the family. But there are many others for whom technology is still quite daunting. The grandPad is designed for them, so they can stay in touch with the people who are important to them, and it provides the music they like, and the games they enjoy.

The grandPad is a closed system. You cannot add apps, you cannot surf the Internet, and the services that are available are tightly curated. For some seniors this is ideal. grandPad comes with built-in concierge service, but the whole package comes with a price. Right now grandPad has an introductory offer with 30 days of free service. After that, it’s either $66 a month plus a $20 setup fee, or you can get a pretty substantial savings on the annual plan which comes to $49 a month with no setup fee.

grandPad operates on the Verizon cellular network, so users don’t have to worry about setting up a wireless home network. The grandPad network is private, so you your loved one won’t be receiving robocalls. grandPad comes with a link that can be sent to family members so they can access voice and video sharing, as well as picture sharing. They can access their loved one’s grandPad through their own smartphone or through a service called “grandPad Central.”

Among the grandPad services:

The grandPad tablet comes with apps that seniors can use to connect with loved ones or pass the time. The grandPad enables simple video chatting for seniors, delivering crisp definition and a seamless call experience. Seniors can share photos and send voice emails. There are also popular games, customized music, and a direct connection to the family. You can get the weather, but grandPad really isn’t designed for the latest news. Again, this a tightly curated platform, and news just isn’t a part of it. You can get up to 20 customizable content feeds, but we found them to be pretty bland.

Here’s how the grandPad folks describe what they deliver:

  • Custom designed 8″ grandPad tablet
  • Applications and content
  • Unlimited video calls and unlimited outbound phone calls
  • Content costs for songs
  • 20+ personalized content feeds
  • 4G LTE connection to internet
  • Charging cradle with extra-long 8′ cord
  • Special stylus designed for seniors
  • Non slip, easy to clean case that also protects the tablet
  • Insurance that covers anything and everything
  • White glove customer support based in the US
  • New features and applications, content, and capabilities are included

The only real extra cost comes if your loved one wants to take advantage of grandPad’s partnership with Lyft for rides. They’ll charge you a modest premium over and above the standard Lyft tariff.

grandPad is really as much of a service as it is a piece of hardware. For tech challenged seniors this can help them stay connected to family and friends, reducing the angst of social isolation that plagues so many seniors. We found it very easy to setup, with step-by-step help from the grandPad team. It definitely delivers what it promises. But remember, this is not a connected experience comparable to what most of us are used to on a standard tablet. And the price makes it pretty clear that few seniors will be buying it for themselves. It’s really aimed at their children or other caregivers who are willing to pay the bill. If you’re interested, you can chat with someone at their website, www.grandpad.net, you can email them at [email protected] or you can call them at 800-704-9412.

 

 

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Gary is an award-winning journalist who has been covering technology since IBM introduced its first personal computer in 1981. Beginning at NBC News, then at ABC News, Ziff Davis, CNN, and Fox Business Network. Kaye has a history of “firsts”. He was the first to bring a network television crew to the Comdex Computer Show, the first technology producer on ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, the first to produce live coverage of the Solar Power International Conference, and the creator of the Fox Business Network signature series, “Three Days In The Valley”. Along the way he created the History Channel Multimedia Classroom. He has been a contributor to both AARP’s website and to AARP radio, as well as to a handful of other print and web-based publications where he specializes in issues involving boomers/seniors and technology. He has been a featured speaker and moderator at industry events such as the Silvers Summit and Lifelong Tech Conferences at CES, the M-Enabling Health Summit, and the What’s Next Baby Boomer Business Summit. His column, “Technology Through Our Eyes” appears in half a dozen newspapers and websites across the country.

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