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Microsoft to punt pensioner-proof PC

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Miss Daisy will soon be able to drive herself around a PC, because Microsoft has announced plans to build a senior-citizen friendly PC.

Microsoft's US arm already sells the so-called “SeniorPC", which is an “HP computer that comes equipped with user-friendly software specifically geared to senior living”.

It isn’t clear if Microsoft’s just expanding the US scheme at this stage or creating a new SeniorPC with another computer manufacturer, but the software giant is planning to work with charities Age Concern and Help the Aged to bring the concept to the UK.

Oldies will get some software allowing them to manage their medical prescriptions and simplified versions of existing applications, such as photo management packages, will be included. A Microsoft spokesman refused to provide any further details about the scheme in the UK - or perhaps he just didn’t have his hearing aid switched on.

In the US, Microsoft’s cheapest SeniorPC costs $1175 (£595/€760) - or around six weeks of basic UK state pension payments for a single person. The 3.2GHz HP PC runs on Windows Vista Home Premium, has a 17in display and comes with the aforesaid prescription software, which reminds users when to take their medication - provided the PC’s turned on of course.

Several gadgets have already been redesigned with the elderly in mind. For example, a US firm has designed a slider mobile phone that’s compatible with hearing aids and which can also magnify on-screen text - in case you lose your glasses.

Microsoft’s first UK SeniorPC is due out within 12 months.

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