AARP is rolling out a new tablet built to address the specific needs of Americans age 50-plus who have yet to fully embrace tablet technology to help them stay connected and “go digital with ease,” the organization said when unveiling “RealPad” Thursday.
“We are filling a gap in the lives of 70 million Americans 50 and over who aren’t really digitally conneced in an age where that’s no longer an option,” said Steve Cone, AARP executive vice president of membership, during a webcast of the product’s launch. “They’re not going to live the lives they want to live unless they get digitally connected.”
And AARP hopes to fill this gap with its Intel-powered, Android-based RealPad tablet.
“There’s obviously a market out there,” said Anne Marie Kilgallon, AARP director of corporate relations and business development. “What we’re realizing is that although we train people in technology, the technology itself isn’t getting any easier — that’s what the RealPad set out to address.”
To contend with other big-name tech providers, AARP says its tablet differs from competing products in five ways: its intuitive interface built for those with little tech experience, one-click troubleshooting, 24/7 customer service and remote assistance, affordable pricing and pre-loaded apps and tools.
“This device is all about ease of use — this thing is built to be easy, easy, easy,” Cone said.
Still, AARP’s RealPad will be competing with tech giant Apple’s iPad, which is gaining traction among senior living communities and has recently been rolled out in a pilot program at Brookdale Senior Living Inc. (NYSE: BKD), the now-largest senior living provider in the nation.
But the RealPad’s price rivals that of its competitors: the 16 GB tablet costs $189, compared to the iPad Mini, which costs $299.
One other key factor will play into AARP’s ability to capture tablet market share: its brand, the company says.
The association is banking on its reputation and membership to leverage the product in the marketplace. The RealPad’s name is even meant to reinforce AARP’s branding of “Real Possibilities,” Cone said.
The RealPad, available for pre-order beginning Thursday, signals the beginning of an ongoing partnership between AARP and Intel, as the association hopes to work with the tech company to develop future RealPad models and integrate its health and wellness initiatives into the tablet, Kilgallon said.
Written by Emily Study