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Ask Slashdot: Easy Wi-Fi-Enabled Tablet For My Dad? 370

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-only-the-weather-channel-made-a-tablet dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I'm looking to pick up a tablet for my father. He is in his 70s and the internet is a bit of a mystery to him, but he asked me about a way to send/receive email and watch online videos. He is not interested in getting a smartphone or changing his cheap phone plan that doesn't include data. But he is interested in getting a tablet and using the free Wi-Fi that is available in his building. Here is my question: can you recommend a tablet equivalent to those phones with the big numbers that they sell to older people? Does there exist a tablet with an interface that would be simple and easy to use for someone who has very little experience with computer GUIs?"
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Ask Slashdot: Easy Wi-Fi-Enabled Tablet For My Dad?

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  • by hcs_$reboot (1536101) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:24AM (#45631611)
    Like... an iPad? You may have notice the keyboard is digital, and therefore you may use the split keyboard [wikihow.com] feature for instance, and offer bigger keys to your daddy. Not mentioning other apps available...
  • by ColaMan (37550) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:25AM (#45631615) Homepage Journal

    1. Pick any android tablet.
    2. Select "Font Size: Huge"

    The interface is dumbed-down pretty well already because it's touch based.

    (Yes, you could go an iPad I suppose. *rolls eyes* :-P)

  • Get an iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KliX (164895) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:26AM (#45631621)

    Got one for my mum - problem solved.

    Didn't even have to explain how to use it!

    • Re:Get an iPad (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thegarbz (1787294) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:15AM (#45631753)

      I tried that. No end of frustrations. It's supposedly the easiest interface in the world but she simply couldn't figure it out. When dad got his Nexus 7 she stopped playing with her iPad.

      My advice to the ask slashdot poster is find someone willing to give up their tablet for a few days as a trial before you commit to something.

      • This ^ (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:46AM (#45631855)

        This.

        My mother struggled like mad with an ipad after I lent her mine, that she decided that after all she didn't want one and stuck with her laptop. It also kyboshed her desire for an 'iphone' when after I explained that while all her friends may have one, an iphone is just a very small ipad - smaller screen, smaller icons.

        Dexterity is a problem, holding the tablet withoyt realising that your contact with the hand you are holding it with is preventing the finger on the other hand from being able to move the icons. She just ended up putting on a table flat to use in case she accidentally touched the screen in the wrong place.

        It was quite suprising as I hadn't considered that using an ipad would be that hard.

        Turns out my father also struggled with the touch-screen environment on my sister's iphone.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          That's the opposite of my experience. We bought my Dad an Ipad 1 a few years ago, and he (very typical in his level of internet savvy for that age) is inseparable from the damn thing. In my opinion, the Ipad interface and app ecosystem is more idiotproof than Android, but I don't think you can go wrong either way, especially given how pricy Ipads are.

        • Re:This ^ (Score:5, Informative)

          by nospam007 (722110) * on Sunday December 08, 2013 @11:25AM (#45632737)

          "Dexterity is a problem, holding the tablet withoyt realising that your contact with the hand you are holding it with is preventing the finger on the other hand from being able to move the icons. She just ended up putting on a table flat to use in case she accidentally touched the screen in the wrong place."

          Albeit being a few decades younger, I bought myself a toddler case for the iPad, with a fat elastic grip all around, which makes it easy for everybody to hold, not only toddlers and old people.
          Here are a few examples:
          http://noahsdad.com/best-ipad-case-kids-toddlers-babies/ [noahsdad.com]

      • Re:Get an iPad (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:51AM (#45631867) Homepage

        If the guy in question really is that clueless the challenge will likely be explaining the internet from scratch. A cheap but good tablet like the Nexus 7 doesn't risk too much outlay if he decides to give up.

      • by the_B0fh (208483)

        Apple has a 2 week or 30 day return policy. Why bug a friend for a loaner?

      • Re:Get an iPad (Score:5, Interesting)

        by emblemparade (774653) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @10:02AM (#45632335)

        I guess YMMV. I suggest the iPad, strongly.

        I got my parents each an iPad as a gift, and it was life transforming, especially for my mom. She never got a hang of computers, even though she even tried to take some computer classes. The mouse, the overlapping windowing interface, dialogs that pop up... a constant source of frustration. Desktop OSes require so much knowledge to just do basic things: we who were raised with them take it for granted. But the iPad somehow made sense to her. She never stops thanking me for it! She emails every day, looks up things in Google, and has recently started to use Facebook (although she is very confused by the interface... heck, I'm a programmer and I can barely understand FB's interface...). We also use Skype a lot, and it works great! Though she often forgets that she needs to "see my name in green" to know that I'm actually have Skype open. She thinks of the whole device as "also a telephone" and still doesn't quite understand that an "app" has to be open.

        Related: my mom had a Galaxy phone at the time, and of course couldn't make heads or tails of it. But, once she "understood" the iPad, she also understood that the iPhone is just a "small iPad", and got one for herself. I'm so proud of her. :) It's also really interesting for me to see how she is exploring this new world in pretty much the opposite direction of what I expected: tablet first, smartphone later. Also interesting, I thought she might find the iPad Mini better, because she carries her iPad around all the time. But she told me she saw one that a friend of hers had, and thought it was ridiculously small and pointless!

        For the record, I'm the ... opposite of an Apple fanboi. I have a Nexus 10 tablet myself, rooted with CynaogenMod. I use Ubuntu exclusively for my desktop and traveling netbook. For my needs, those are definitely the better choices. But for my mom, I must concede that iOS is simply easier to use. Fewer menus, fewer options, and that's all good for someone who is confused by even one option. I've learned that my mom not only has different needs, but also views these technologies from an entirely different, and I would say fresher perspective than mine.

        Trust me: get you dad an old iPad, it may change his life. You definitely don't need an iPad 2 in terms of power, although consider the iPad Air. I'm thinking of upgrading my mom to it, I think she might appreciate the lighter weight.

        Also: I don't know how old your dad is and how his vision is, but also look into increasing the font sizes, and show him how to use the click-zoom feature. It's built into the iPad, and can definitely help older folks.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)

        The big problem is the ongoing silliness of only having a single button. I seem to recall a similar problem where a company insisted their mice only have a single button despite it being far more difficult to use.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Things that should be simple are made unnecessarily complicated on an iPad.

      To copy photos from my SLR to my iPad you should be able to just plug in the camera and copy the files over.

      Apple won't let you do that. There isn't even a USB port on the iPad. Instead, you have to copy the files to your computer, sync the files with iTunes, and have iTunes copy the files over. That seems counterintuitive. Why should I have to open up my "jukebox" program to copy photos?

      Want to share a bunch of photos from your

      • Ever hear of the Camera Connection Kit? It works great and the camera plugs right in.

      • Re:Get an iPad (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @10:09AM (#45632369) Homepage

        Apple DOES let you do that, get the camera kit like you are supposed to, back when I had a starter DSLR that only shot 10 megapixels I did it all the time.

        Now my new DSLR, I did not even try because why in the world would I want to load up my tiny 64gig of storage space with 24megapixel photos when I have 5 32gig memory cards on me. and 32gig cards are dirt cheap.

        Oh and please tell me WHAT android tablet has a standard USB A plug on it for your camera, you seem to be making things up about your complaints. Every single android tablet I have owned, Nexus 7, Nexus10, you have to do major hacks to get the micro USB to act as a host, certianly out of reach for 99% of tablet users.

        Lastly please tell me what this fetish is with the newbie photographers wanting their DSLR connect to the tablet? there is no good reason at all for it. Slow usb2.0 transfers take forever and a day if you think you will be showing a "client" the photo. if you really are desperate to look like inspector gadget, buy EyeFi cards and transfer them wirelessly, that way you can shoot RAW+JPEG and have the jpegs go to the tablet and have the RAW files for real processing later. If I really need to show a client a photo, I simply pull the 15" laptop out of my camera bag and show them. But I highly discourage this as those are raw photos and breaks the flow. They can see the proofs later when we meet and I have had time to deal with them properly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:39AM (#45631651)

    If he "has very little experience with computer GUIs", why force one upon him?

    Why not instead give him something that he can control in a manner that's at least vaguely reminiscent of the way he would have used computers when he was working?

    My suggestion -- a cheap, used laptop (say, 3 to 5 years old max.) with a decent wifi card in it, running your GNU/Linux distro of choice, with mutt for mail and mplayer with svgalib for the videos.

    With a few carefully chosen aliases added to his .profile, it shouldn't be hard at all to make bash feel "just like" CP/M, DCL, JCL, DOS or whatever he used to use at work, so the only "new" things to adjust to would be mutt & mplayer. Once he's comfortable with that, you can introduce to what's under the hood and gradually remove the "training wheels"...

    • I wish I had mod points today, I'd have given you a +1 funny... Do you know any old people well and spend time with them? A tablet would be much more suitable...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, as it happens, including my own father.

        After he retired (20+ years ago mind you), he wanted a computer that he could use at home "just like I used to at work". He'd been shown Windows and even the venerable Amiga, but wan't interested in "learning anything new like that" and just didn't see the point of a mouse.

        What he knew from his working days was JCL & DOS (yes, back when men were men it was fairly standard practise for "non-computer" people to use terminals and/or PCs without GUIs at work). Her

    • Huh? If he is in his 70's, it's very likely that he never used anything like a desktop/laptop personal computer at work.

              I work in a very high technology field and we didn't have anything resembling a personal computer until the early 90's - about when this guy would have been retiring.

            The answer is blindingly obvious, get an iPad.

      • PC came out in 1982. "Personal Computers" AKA microcomputers were around several years before that: CP/M, MP/M, Epson laptop, more. These were in fact in offices at work. I should know, old-fart typing this at my Linux laptop but had a multi-node multi-OS multi-location mixed PC, oddball CP/M, and S-100 bus tri-state network up and running at a NY-based retailer in 1983, with all sorts of non-technical users doing spreadsheets, dBase, word processing, parts ordering, service tracking, rudimentary public ele

    • by ruir (2709173)
      Old dogs can learn new tricks indeed. Gave a Mac to my father when he was 70 and I was abroad, before there were iPads and he pretty much learned to deal with it on his own.
  • by mseeger (40923) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:42AM (#45631657)

    Hi,

    thanks for bringing this topic up on Slashdot. I am currently looking into this too, but with another challenge on top. A relative of mine (80+ years) is going to be blind too. And he is looking for technology to help him cope with blindness.

    A tablet with voice control and output would be a good solution (IMHO). Has anyone experiences with that?

    From my first glance, the support in IOS for visually impaired is higher, but i may be wrong with that and the openess of Android may enable better 3rd-party tools enhancing that experience. Can you give me your input?

    It is a pity, that those displays with tactile feedback are not here yet.

    Thanks for any hint, Martin

    • Re:For bling people (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rainer_d (115765) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:16AM (#45631757) Homepage
      AFAIK, the support for blind-people in iOS is still much, much better than anywhere else.
      Not only in iOS itself, but also throughout the apps, too.
      Instead of tactile feedback, iOS uses voice-over, where you swipe over the screen and it spells out what you touch (I've never tried it, but that's AFAIK the way it works).
      Blind people seems to be OK with that.
      • by sosume (680416)

        Don't want to flame but the only OS with proper support for blind or disabled people is still Windows.

    • by xaxa (988988)

      I think you should ask some blind people, not Slashdot people.

      A friend is blind, and could certainly afford anything, but I'm 90% sure he has an Android phone. It's certainly not an iPhone, it's possible it's a less-smart-phone.

      The British Royal National Institute for the Blind [rnib.org.uk] was top in my Google search, there's probably an equivalent in your country.

  • Kindle Fire (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gravis777 (123605) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:52AM (#45631681)

    You may have to help him go through the initial setup, but the GUI is pretty self-explanitory. Its pretty minamalist, easy access to what is needed, etc.

    If you want a bigger tablet, though, you may be stuck going with an iPad. But if you want to save a couple hundred bucks and stick with Android, go Kindle Fire.

    And don't wine about it not having full Google Apps or access to the play store or anything. You said you wanted something simple. This is simple.

    We got one for my dad a couple of years ago who is in his 60s, and he loves it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Background:

      The kids' school is moving towards an electronic curriculum (Smart boards, online textbooks, kids doing PowerPoint presentations, etc.), but buggered up the budget for notebooks. And so the teachers sent home notices that the kids could bring in gadgets to connect to the school's wifi network so they can do their work. Yup, it sucks for the kids whose parents can't afford gadgets.

      Long story short, Amazon was selling 7" Kindle Fire HDs for $120CDN. I gave our 10 year old the name of our wifi netwo

    • Unless OP's father's memories of "like I used to use" were being stuck in AOL's or Prodigy's walled gardens, why would anybody recommend a "married to Jeff Bezos" Kindle Fire tablet?

      Crippled Android fork of a very old version, no access to Google Play or other app stores, nor sideloading (you rooters go away, we're talking about normals here).

      If you must recommend a bookstore-based Android-derived tablet, a Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet or, my choice which I own, a Kobo Arc family tablet, are now essential

  • iPad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pev (2186) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @06:52AM (#45631683) Homepage

    Just get an ipad - I got a cheap second hand ipad 1 for my mum (85) and she picked,up using it just fine. I never have to help her much unlike her normal computer.

    To the poster who said about CPU / graphics power, potentially don't worry as most older folk are only really looking to use the web and read email, neither of which are intensive.

    To the poster who said about full size vs compact : in my mums case she asked me to get her an ipad mini after playing with mine. In her case it wasn't about the screen size but because her arms aren't too strong it's easier for her to hold up and use! The air might be an option these days but it's a lot more money...

    In general I think that like children, you shouldn't "dumb down" stuff for old folk unless you absolutely have to. It's not as necessary as many would have you believe. In children having to think more helps them learn and in older folk it helps stop them forget!

    • by swb (14022)

      I agree with everything except the iPad 1 part. I think an iPad 2 would be a better choice -- the iPad 1 was underpowered when it was new, mostly from a RAM perspective and it ought to be reasonably cheap as well.

      I gave my wife my iPad 1 when I got the 3, and since iOS 6 came out there's been a lot of legitimate complaining about apps crashing and hanging, even the email app.

  • Chrome Book (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I know the obvious answers are 9'' iPads/Android tablets, but IMO with sending emails as a requirement he's better off with a Chromebook. It's super-easy to use and has a real keyboard that doesn't require holding down a virtual key to get extra options. According to Google [google.com], most of them haved a 11.6'' display, but there are several with a 14'' display. Also, they're dirt cheap.

  • by jonwil (467024)

    My mum bought iPads for both of her parents last xmas and they both picked it up easily enough once the initial setup was done.

  • Asus Nexus 7 $200 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Phoenix666 (184391)

    I've had one for a year now and am quite happy with it. It was much more affordable than the iPad too. Its form factor beats the iPad because you can slip it into your front pocket (of your jeans). No extra carrying case required. Of course I often have to repossess the thing from my wife, who sneaks out of the house with it squirreled away in her purse.

  • by Geeky (90998) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:05AM (#45631719)

    I'm in the same situation with my dad. He's finally decided that there are too many things that really need internet access, such as shopping and booking holidays. After much discussion, we've decided that a laptop would be better for him. Tablets are great for browsing, but as soon as you need to do things a proper keyboard wins. OK, that's partly my preference as well, but I don't want him to hit a limitation.

    He may also want to do some basic photo editing. He likes photography, and has been getting by with a printer that has a card slot for his SD cards. The ability to do basic edits and back up his photos will be useful.

    And yes, I'm going Windows for him. I can't justify the cost of a Mac, and his peers all have Windows so they can swap advice. For someone who hasn't used it before, Windows 8 is fine - he won't have that learning curve of everything being different.

    • by petes_PoV (912422)

      but I don't want him to hit a limitation.

      As infirmity and frailness take hold, being able to operate a mouse can become a major limitation. Whether that's due to the poor design of cursor/GUI interactions or simply the inability to double-click fast enough, being able to press a mouse button for "long" periods during click'n'drag - or some other physical limitation. However I have noticed with elderly relatives that they dislike "mousey" operations. Point and press is simpler as it doesn't involve and speed related movements.

      It would be interesti

      • by Geeky (90998)

        Interesting point. So far it's not a problem - he's 70 next year and physically stronger than me (that's the IT lifestyle for you!) and doesn't have trouble with fine motor action. My grandfather did computer courses at the local library in his late 80s, maybe 90, and he did suffer from arthritis but still managed.

        At this point I'm more worried about the software limitations. He may decide he wants to write a letter, and a tablet would be a pain for that (and printing - again, any cheap printer will do with

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      After much discussion, we've decided that a laptop would be better for him. Tablets are great for browsing, but as soon as you need to do things a proper keyboard wins.

      I disagree with the "as soon as" part. It all depends on the ratio. If 90% of the time, a keyboard isn't needed, I doubt a laptop is more welcome, unless the other 10% is spent typing war and peace or something. If all the typing that needs to be done is the random email or filling out an online form, tablets are adequate.

      Especially the pe

  • by houghi (78078) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @07:46AM (#45631851)

    When my dad asked what he should buy as a computer as per normal I asked what he would be doing with it.
    Most people will answer email or web or games. His answer was "I don't know, but everybody has one." I ahve waited all my life to respond to that and the response was "Just because everybody jumps of a bridge, would you too?"
    Well, not in those words. I explained that there were better options for him. I do know that there are many old and elder people who are interested in learning how to work with a computer. My parents are just not the type. Buying a phone is a challenge. I was just able to buy a 'normal' cellphone for them. Previously I bought a phone designed for the elderly and that was too complicated. A smart phone? No way! No idea what I am going to do in the future. Perhaps I have an old Nokia lying around somewhere that I can send them.
    The ATM is going OK, but was also a challenge. It is technical after all.

    So what was the solution I have for them? Something they already have: peoples skills and a phone. If they want to contact anybody, they can call them. No need to send an email and get no reply because people forget to answer. If they want to look something up, they can go to the bar/restaurant (they live in Spain where people live more outdoor anyway) and ask somebody. The worst case scenario is that they have to buy the guy or girl a glass of wine (and get one back).

    Instead of calling me on how to turn on the screen to get to the googly page, they have (another) excuse to call me and I do the search for them. Or even worse, explain them that they have been had by entering their credit card to protect their PC and in 10 years still get charged for a program they no longer use. Or thought they were helping this nice Nigerian gentleman.

    As I know them, I knew they would not be using the computer anyway. They have never used or worked with a computer at work. So absolute zero experience. So that is why I advised against it. To me it was a technical solution for a social problem. So no-go. Computers are not always the answer. Obviously YMMV.

    • by the_B0fh (208483) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @10:02AM (#45632331) Homepage

      Wow. When you were growing up, they spent their time and resources to teach you and help you learn. Now that they're old, you are not willing to help them and teach them, and actively fight to keep them away from a computer because they might call you for help.

      What a whiny little asshole.

      • by Pharmboy (216950)

        Yeah, I was kind of thinking the same thing.

        When my mom and dad were 65/69, I bought them a Winbox simply because that is what everyone else has, so getting software and help would be trivial. That was 15 years ago and they are on their 3rd. Mom isn't here anymore but dad uses Skype, plays poker games (I send them game CDs) and such and he is in his 80s. We Facebook daily.

        Sometimes "best" simply means what is most common, or maybe what you, the one who is going to be helping him, is familiar with. For h

  • I was in the same position with my mum a while ago. She never had any contact with the web until she tried my tablet. From her experience (I just asked) and mine I have to say that the what doesn't matter that much. What is important is the size of.... well everything. Nine inches at least or the touch screen keyboard and text will be to small.
    The Font Size:Huge thing is one the most important aspects. We all missed links on a touch screen but older people can be somewhat confused when they miss a link. F
  • by cerberusss (660701) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:49AM (#45632043) Homepage Journal

    He is in his 70s and the internet is a bit of a mystery to him, but he asked me about a way to send/receive email and watch online videos

    Ah yes, he wants to watch "online videos". Really, the old goat will be browsing 4chan and redtube when he hears you closing the front door behind your ass.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:50AM (#45632049)

    and if there is one he likes.

    I can vouch for the iPad. My dad was the same way as yours and now he's hooked on it.

    If you do get it, the new iPad Air is thinner and lighter, making it easier to hold. Try a self standing cover to protect it, it also makes it easier to use on a table.

    I suggest adding gmail app (easier than the native mail app), and finding/adding other apps he might be interested in, particularly netflix if his buliding's wifi can handle it.

    What I do not recommend is just dumping the box on him and expecting to not find it at the back of the closet later.

    Whatever you choose, spend some time learning it yourself so you can later spend half a day expertly teach/learn it with him, answering questions, and putting useful/fun apps he wants on it. Afterall, humans use tools they find utility in, help him find utility in one, whether it be games, entertainment, or practical things.

  • by WHExeter (685854) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:51AM (#45632057)
    I've set up Android tablets for a number of family members and friends who had limited technological prowess, had very limited goals for what they wanted to be able to do and/or were intimidated by the interface and operation of a tablet. In each case the first thing I do is to replace the stock launcher with something that's more easily customizable. For tablets running Android 4,x I use Nova Launcher. For tablets running 2.x (which won't run Nova) I use Holo Launcher. I use these launchers because you can vary icon size, font size and other visual elements. Then I delete every home screen except one blank one. I disable the "dock" too, just for the sake of simplicity. I set up ONE home screen with a grid of maybe 3 columns by 5 rows, and I make my icons and fonts as large as I can that will still display clearly within that grid size (it's easy to see when you've made things too big). For anyone who finds the interface hard to read I'll go into Settings/Accessibility and make text larger (this setting changes ALL text, including on the display screens and in most apps). I custom build the home screen to fit the needs of my user but a generic example would probably have Dolphin Browser (basic operations like bookmarks are very intuitive), Gmail, theScore or ESPN for sports fans, Google Play Store, maybe YouTube. If they have certain web sites that they want to be sure they can get to I'll put an icon on the home screen that goes directly to those sites. Maybe they'd want the Kindle app, or Facebook, or Google Maps, maybe Calendar or Contacts, but I try to err on the side of simplicity for novice users. I'll drop on a Google Search widget and a Clock/Weather widget that looks colorful and I'll set a nice background photo that looks good but doesn't make things harder to read. In a lower corner I'll add an icon for Apps (having eliminated the Dock) and an icon for Settings. We're talking about tablets but if I was setting up a smartphone I'd have the essential call/text/camera icons on that lowest row as well. I'll spend some time with my novice user going over the layout and functions, make changes as needed and then "lock" the home screen so they can't accidentally delete something. What I deliver to my user is a device that has easy access to ONLY what he/she says is needed (the Apps icon will always get you everything else). I want the user to feel as though they can master the functions they have and become comfortable with the interface (novice smartphone/tablet users often have never used a touch screen or swiped to navigate). As they become more familiar and more confident they, or I if needed, can effortlessly expand the displays and uses. A new user who feels comfortable and confident will use the device and, in time, likely want to learn more. A new user who feels intimidated and lost will get frustrated quickly and stuff the thing in a drawer.
  • by Patch86 (1465427) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @08:54AM (#45632061)

    1) Pick any Android tablet you like the look of. They all have Wifi.
    2) Got to Settings > Display > Font Size = Large or Huge.
    3) There is no third step.

    I don't have first hand experience, but I bet iPads and Windows tablets have exactly the same settings. Probably best to get a larger-screened tablet if you're going to jack the font size right up- so Nexus 10 / iPad-not-mini or similar.

    Other than that- honestly, take your pick. The interfaces are all pretty idiot proof. I have first hand experience of my Gran getting an iPhone and she seemed to pick it up quickly enough, while my Dad owns a Samsung Android phone and an elderly uncle owns a Kindle Fire HD, and they both seem happy. Normal selection criteria also apply- if you get "cheap as you can find" you'll probably find responsiveness etc. is poorer; and if you're catering to a tech dunce, best to keep extra barriers to acceptance to a minimum. But then again, if he doesn't intend to use it for anything more than a little web browsing, it wouldn't be worth spending a king's ransom on it.

  • by sydbarrett74 (74307) <sydbarrett74.gmail@com> on Sunday December 08, 2013 @09:04AM (#45632095)
    I say 8.9" as opposed to the 7" so he can view pages using a larger font and have that extra 2" diagonally for more screen real estate. You can ditch the Mayday button and save $150 ($229 vs $379). If he has you, why would he need Mayday? :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @09:07AM (#45632111)

    Funny enough I just gave my grandmother an iPad 3 weeks ago. After about 3 1ahour sessions she has become amazingly proficient with it. To add to her difficulty in understanding the UI concepts she also has a severe case of macular degeneration which prevents her from seeing small text and what not AND only speaks French. To my amazement the next day after returning home from visiting her (I live across the country from her) I receding several iMessages and a FaceTime call - I didn't even teach her how to use the former (iMessage).

    That being said, I love both Android and iOS devices but I felt that simplicity of use fell in the realm of the iPad - and from her amazing usage of it I am even more convinced of this.

    My recommendation: get him/her an iPad.

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @09:31AM (#45632201)

    I got the same situation and went with an Android for my parents. Here's why:

    1- With many tablets (all Samsung ones, all rooted ones, many others), TeamViewer Quick Support allows you to remote control the tablet from your PC (like Remote Desktop in Windows), which comes in very handy when doing support to a complete techno ignoramus

    2- Widgets make things real easy. The home displays his new emails, the weather, a picture frame of the grandkids, maybe some news, and shortcuts to favorite sites and games.

    3- 10" is required, because eyes and fingers are old

    4- the price is right. an Asus MemoPad 10 is around $229 (190 euros in my country), there's no reason to spend more.

  • I trained my 91 year old mother-in-law with a Motorola Xoom. I put I put the email app on the front. Of course, now she can't find the tablet, but that is irrelevant to the question of which tablet to use
  • I turned my wife's smartphone into her own Jitterbug style large print/large icon phone with that app. A tablet using it would be quite easy for your Dad with just a little set up. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=name.kunes.android.launcher.activity&hl=en [google.com]
  • The Taiwanese touch screen is on the loose. Android is the cheapest operating system. My dad, 77, has an iPad and it's fine and he uses it, but he'd have been just fine with a $45 Shenzhen special. These are becoming like light bulbs [blogspot.com] (which used to be considered "repairable" in the late 1800s) and there's no reason to pay hundreds for an Apple light bulb.
  • I"ve been using one for development testing the past three months. 9" for $150. Yes, it is last years tech but it is more than capable for general use and even light gaming. B&N did skin the interface a little bit and it should be easy for him to navigate.

  • Last year, I was in your situation: I wanted to give my father a tablet.
    The then best tablet (Nexus 7, 2012 model) was the first Android that I considered giving my father (he's from 1940, not tech-savvy at all: the laptop that my parents had was only used by my mother).
    He took a look at it, shrugged and said 'I will never use it'.

    The first app I installed on it for him was a teletext app, with which he could read teletext. (I know, not the first app I would use myself). But he used it.
    And now it is difficu

  • Anything Android. Apple is not easy, it's just consistent. Android can be customized for the user to be wrapped around *their* paradigm of understanding. Apple just flips you the bird; it's their way or the highway.

    Get something with at least a 10" screen. Maybe there are also accessibility apps that can "magnify" the screen globally enlarge text sizes.

    Research and install the simplest launcher you can find; one where you can change the icon size and names. Remove as much abstractive association as pos

  • Their gear may be pricey, but it Just Works, and everything integrates. But I know how you young whippersnappers love fiddling with the latest Ubuntu release until it almost works, so have fun.

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