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Smartphone, Wireless, and Mobile Technologies Forum

Email Appliances
Looking for advice on a gift

 9:31 pm on Mar 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

My 82 year old Mom has tried for 18 months to get the hang of the PC - more power to her for trying. She just decided to get rid of it - too much aggravation (I well understand!)

However, her original motive was to keep in touch with family via email. She knows that we all use email all the time and she wants in on the fun. So I'm thinking about buying her an email appliance.

I see two on the market that look good - the Lundel MailBug and the Cidco MailStation. Are there others that do the job well? No chiclet sized keyboards will be considered!

It also seems to me the service fees are way out of line with what you get. $15 a month if you want to get image attachments. Is there a workaround here?



 9:50 pm on Mar 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Oooh... I almost hate to say it.... but maybe WebTV? Simple, large screen, minimal computer savvy needed...

I have yet to see an email appliance that handles color, attachments, etc. in any manner that a grandomther would be able to appreciate for cute grandkid photos and the like...

Email appliances seem to still be aimed primarily at the "connected" individual who doesn't quite need a "real" laptop, but needs constant email access.

Unless you get her a color PDA with a full size keyboard attachment. You can use modem service with them, so don't *need* to pay for expensive wireless service, but I'm thinking the screen size may be an impediment for someone her age.


 9:53 pm on Mar 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Thanks, that's an idea worth looking into. Never thought I would even consider the gizmo!


 9:58 pm on Mar 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

Of course, that's now MSN TV - with a website that uses jscript and tells me that Opera won't work on their rudimentary forms. Nevertheless, it does seem like a very good solution.


 10:00 pm on Mar 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

buy her an imac- my dad was as technically challenged as they get and he could NOT get the hang of a PC- i went out last year and for under $1500 got him the imac, a scanner and printer. i spent maybe an hour if that, doing a basic explanation and he was ready to rock- i am a mac/pc trainer as well, and one of my favourite clients is a 95 year old woman who just COULDNT get the whole concept of internet and email- her family got her an older mac and bought me to sit with her for a few hours and get her up to speed- now she has her own aol account and communicates with her old friends and family primarily thru email-not bad!


 10:09 pm on Mar 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

As much as my first impulse was to say the same thing, weblady, it would seem like an imac would be overkill for someone who just wants family email...

But a used CRT iMac would be well under $1000, I'm sure, and if you set up everthing for her with just the email icon on the desktop, used a super-simple email program, and just taught her...

1. How to turn it on
2. Double click email icon
3. How to use email program
4. How to shut it down

...she might be more comfortable with that for a while, and be interested in learning more at a later date. At which point you put a second icon (perhaps a web browser?) on the desktop, and just teach her how to use that.

That would also prevent any confusion that WebTV might cause while running into sites that aren't compatible with it, if she tried to surf the web through her television... and a lot of areas offer cheap or free internet access with certain local & long distance phone service packages.


 1:44 am on Mar 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

> running into sites that aren't compatible

That's what killed her on the PC - she couldn't tell the difference between a mistake she made and some bad code on a doofus website she tried to look at. Usually the doofus pages were on AOL where she liked to hang out.


 3:36 am on Mar 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Well, a used iMac running IE 5 might not be a bad idea then. Relatively cheap, and very widely compatible with current coing variations...

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