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Friendly new tablet designed for tech-wary seniors

The Claris Companion tablet is designed to offer tech appeal to skeptical seniors through a simple interface and attractive design.

Claris Companion
The Claris Companion is simplified for seniors who are new to tablets.
Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

There's a tablet for just about everyone. There are tablets for kids, tablets for early adopters, and tablets for the masses. Now, there's a tablet specifically designed for seniors who are skeptical about technology.

The Claris Companion may be the most welcoming-looking tablet ever created. It has rounded edges, a thick bamboo bezel, and a happy little stand that props it up. Speakers are built into the front so there's no mystery about where the sound is coming from. There's none of that shiny, futuristic aluminum and plastic look that's so popular. This tablet will settle right in with more traditional home decor.

The 10-inch touch-screen tablet is ready to work with a senior's needs. It can be set to give diabetic testing alerts, along with a video walking the viewer through the process. It lets seniors check in with family members and serves up reminders of appointments and medication schedules. The buttons are big. The text is large. The sound is amplified. The user interface is straightforward and simple.

One of the most appealing aspects of the Claris Companion is that it allows family members to monitor seniors who may need an extra hand. They can get alerts if medication is skipped and send messages to follow up through the tablet.

Caregivers can personalize the tablet to handle the specific needs of each person. Useful functions include video chat, wellness surveys, exercise videos, and the ability for family members to upload photos remotely to the device.

The Claris Companion is designed to be as friendly as possible. If there is likely to be a hiccup along the way, it may be with operating the onscreen keyboard when handling tasks like responding to messages. That can be challenging even for the tech-savvy.

There are several ways to buy a Claris Companion. With a two-year contract, you can pick it up for $99 with a $59 monthly subscription fee. The next option is to put down $549 and pay a $39 subscription fee that can be canceled anytime. For a limited time, you can pay $995 for a lifetime subscription with no additional monthly fees.

The market for senior tablets hasn't been explored much, but it looks like the Claris Companion is off to a smart start. As our population continues to age, this could be just the beginning for a much larger movement in accessible tablets.