By Claire Reilly

2011 has undoubtedly been a year for the smartphone – every manufacturer that is worth its salt has released at least one device, all the way from Apple’s lone iPhone 4S up to HTC’s raft of smartphone releases to suit every taste.

While touch screens and specs might be the talk of the day, Telstra has released a much more lo-fi mobile phone that is targeted towards a potentially forgotten consumer.

The telco today released the Telstra EasyTouch Discovery 3, a mobile phone that it is geared specifically towards seniors and one that plays down the dominance of the screen in favour of larger buttons and an easy to use interface.

The device was even designed in consultation with seniors. According to Telstra’s consumer marketing director, Maryanne Tsiatsias, the device was designed and tested over six months in conjuction with Telstra Connected Seniors – a dedicated group that educates older Australians on technology – as well as the Telstra Disability Forum.

“Our customers told us that they wanted a simpler menu for easier navigation, and our new model gives them exactly that, so older Australians can get to the core functions they need, quickly and with minimal fuss,” said Tsiatsias.

The device is the successor to the EasyTouch Discovery 2, and keeps many of the earlier phones features, including the flip-phone shape, audible key tones, hearing aid compatibility and accompanying ‘how to’ DVD. However, improvements have also been made on the new model.

“The user interface on the EasyTouch Discovery 3 has been further enhanced,” added Tsiatsias. “Customers now can easily view both missed calls and also new messages by simply opening the phone – the interface is intelligent and jumps straight to these new events, without the hassle of having to navigate through multiple menus.

“Despite its focus on accessibility, the EasyTouch Discovery 3 also features a few high-tech features you would expect from a more modern mobile phone, including an inbuilt three mega-pixel camera, integrated MP3 Player, hands-free speaker phone and a 32GB expandable memory card slot.”

The Discovery 3 is covered by the Telstra Blue Tick, meaning it offers strong coverage in regional and rural areas, and it also operates on Telstra’s Next G network.

The EasyTouch Discovery 3 is available from Telstra stores and dealers for RRP $240 outright, or for $0 upfront a $20 Telstra Plan.

Telstra's EasyTouch Discovery 3.