Austrian mobile phone-manufacturer Emporia has released two new models - the Elegant and the Solid - at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The new handsets add to the company’s range aimed at seniors, mobility impaired users and other groups who primarily just wan to make and receive calls. Both feature a high contrast OLED 1.8-inch screen, a magnifying function that lets you enlarge the characters on screen, large buttons, and an extra loud speaker that is compatible with hearing aids.

The Solid is a ruggedized model is suited to tradespeople and active users because it’s water-resistant and doesn’t mind getting dirty. Plus its large buttons are well-suited to gloved hands or builders’ bulky digits.

Emporia says its research shows that what senior citizens want in a mobile phone is the ability to make phone calls, around 85 percent save phone numbers and 78 percent send SMS messages. All other functions are used by barely half of all those surveyed, which included new users of mobile phones, people with impaired motor function, and people who were overwhelmed by the multiple functions of conventional mobile phones. Apart from an “intuitive menu”, the phones have anther couple of useful features - the phonebook in Emporia mobile phones can be maintained remotely via SMS and phonebook entries can be sent to Emporia users via SMS. A desktop charger with integrated hands-free kit enables one-touch call pickup. The Elegance handset will be available around Q2 this year and the Solid will follow in Q3.

The Solid handset will retail for €199 (US$272 approx), the Elegant is a bit cheaper at €129 (US$176).