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With Your Second-Hand iPhone and These New Healthcare Apps, Singaporean Seniors Have a Lifeline

Silverline app for seniors

A group of Singaporean seniors with their donated phones from the Silverline project.


“Why build new hardware when the world is full of amazing iPhones and Android devices?” With that idea, one civic-minded startup in Singapore is building specialist apps for senior citizens that will then be given to elderly folks on donated phones. Called Project Silverline, it’s launching a crowdfunding campaign today on Indiegogo that’s aiming to raise US$50,000.

Essentially, Silverline is a suite of healthcare and personal safety apps (pictured below) that are made with seniors in mind, with large icons and clear, simple text. Among the five current apps are ‘Connect’, which is a replacement for the phone’s contacts app; ‘Well Being’ provides alarms for things like taking medicine; and the ‘Emergency’ app gives one-tap access to Singapore‘s police or ambulance hotlines. The apps are initially available for iOS and can run on older handsets, such as an iPhone 3GS, so that they work fine on the kind of repurposed devices they hope youngsters will donate in a charitable fashion.

Silverline is being backed by local telco SingTel, which has been accepting old handset donations at stores for several months already, collecting any iPhone 3GS, 4, or 4S that can be given a new lease of life as a communication lifeline for a senior citizen in Singapore with these apps.

Senior safety

Silverline app for seniors

The ‘Well Being’ part of the Silverline apps for seniors.

With SingTel already on board, and the apps already developed for iOS, I asked Ciaran Lyons from NewtonCircus, the startup running this project, why it’s now taking the crowdfunding route:

Part of the crowdfunding budget will be used to work with some neat external devices – such as battery-powered accelerometers – which provide additional functionality. But so far everything can be installed on your factory-fresh smartphone – though we’d prefer it were second-hand.

Ciaran adds that Silverline has so far clocked up “18 months of research, prototyping and user feedback to make sure that seniors love and benefit from our apps.” In addition to what the suite of apps do already, they’re working on bringing them to Android in future and getting the Silverline apps into the iTunes App Store so that anyone can make use of them. Plus, the startup is testing a personal security app that can detect falls, and has started building games that can detect cognitive decline.

To keep the elderly connected once they’ve received the donated handsets, SingTel is giving 1,000 voice and data plans, good for a whole year, to the phone beneficiaries free of charge. Ciaran says that “the need, even just in Singapore, is far greater than that and it’s growing every year. So we have a lot to do.” But the SingTel site suggests that only 27 old iPhones have been donated so far, so the project is in need of a hardware boost so that some of Singapore’s neediest citizens can have these apps at their disposal.

We’re told that Newton Circus is a startup of 11 people. Though they have received funding from different sources for various initiatives, there’s been no venture capital input as of yet. The team is working with registered charities in the US, UK, Hong Kong, and Australia to create similar phone donation programs there.

Get more info on donating your old iPhones (3GS, 4, 4S only) here, or throw some cash at their new crowd funding page (which runs for 45 more days). Or do both.

Silverline app for seniors

Apple iPhone Mini: New Affordable Handset to Rollout in 2014?

Apple will reportedly issue new smartphones in colourful casings – three in one-tone: pink, yellow, blue; and the rest in two-tone: white & silver and black & slate. These new handsets will be called iPhone 5S and are set for a June 2013 release.


By Erik Pineda | January 9, 2013 4:00 PM EST

Talks that Apple is releasing two versions of iPhone this year is growing by the day, fed by forecasts from key analysts, but a new report suggests that if indeed an iPhone Mini will come out, the earliest that the handset will hit global markets is by 2014.

Citing the latest analysis provided by Neil Mawston of Strategic Analytics, CNET reported that Apple will have to wait until next year to roll out the iPhone Mini, which experts said is the tech giant’s way of expanding its reach, protecting its smartphone business in the process.

Why the long wait? The year 2014, according to Mr Mawston, appears the right moment for Apple to open another front on its growing market strategy. By that time, “Apple’s penetration of the global postpaid smartphone market will be nearing saturation,” he added.

“We expect the iPhone Mini to be more likely next year, in 2014 … (when) Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams elsewhere,” the analyst told CNET.

At the moment, Apple has no compelling reasons to adjust its business model, as suggested by some analysts, Mr Mawston said, adding that the company’s latest offering is yet to realise its full potential more than two months after its launch.

“The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is limited incentive for Apple to launch a profit-squeezing iPhone Mini this year,” he explained.

However, Mr Mawston allowed that for Apple to consider different servings of its money-maker is inevitable, conceding that “Apple will have to launch an iPhone Mini at some point over the next three years.”

This move will be geared for “the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone,” he stressed. The tech giant will also benefit in terms of widening its market reach, likely gaining more inroads in emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region, in China specifically.

Apple has been clear on its intention to further penetrate the vast Chine market and Tim Cook’s, Apple CEO, recent visits in China only fanned speculations that the company is closing in on a deal with China Mobile.

With Apple pushing deeper into China, and looking into a massive market of up to 120 million active subscribers per reports by AllThingsD, the company will have to reconfigure its smartphone lineup to best suit the mass market characteristic of the world’s second biggest economy, analysts said.

Issuing the iPhone Mini is a logical decision on Apple’s part, they added.

Also, by manufacturing cheaper iPhone models, Apple is likely to win over more following in Australia, where the smartphone adoption rate is over 60 per cent at the last count, one of the highest in the world, according to the Australian Financial Review.

If Apple can put together future iPhone versions that do not exceed the $400-mark, it is set for better business prospects in the country, Telsyte analyst Foad Fadaghi told The AFR.

The Australian prospect is more than promising for the iPhone maker, Mr Fadaghi said, noting that multitudes of Aussies are still in the feature phone world and Apple can finally lure them by introducing an attractive but affordable iPhone Mini.

International Business Times



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