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Not the right age for a smartphone? Try Emporia phones instead

With all their overwhelming features, smartphones aren't for everybody. That's why Emporia deliberately makes phones for those too young or too senior for smartphones.

LAS VEGAS--Admit it, sometimes you miss the days before smartphones came onto the scene.

Although there is no doubt that their features have improved our lives a thousand-fold, the days of simple clam shell or candy bar phones were altogether pleasant. Call it rose-tinted nostalgia, but these phones of yesteryear--sometime before touch screens, GPS, and apps, but definitely after the bag phone era--were simple and tough.

And even though there are a lot of people who are able to use smartphones, they aren't for everybody--especially when it comes to those on opposite ends of the age spectrum. These include children who get reckless with their belongings (those kids, so ungrateful!), and seniors who have difficulty moving their fingers or have bad eyesight.

So if you're the type of person who doesn't require the latest technology in your phone, or know somebody who could benefit from a simpler phone, Emporia may have a solution for you.

Emporia is a telecom maker that specializes in simplified mobile communication for seniors and children. Currently, its products are available in 30 countries, but the company is working with T-Mobile to expand its markets to the United States in spring 2012. It also plans on expanding to Canada and South America.

To research the needs of seniors, Emporia worked with Cambridge University to understand how elderly people use cell phones throughout their daily lives and how that can be improved.

That's why its phones all feature a simple user interface, huge buttons, and a tough design.

This year at CES, we were able to check out some of the phones at the Emporia booth. One model, aptly called the Solid, is extra tough and built to military specifications. Another is the Click, which has a one-touch emergency call button on the back that allows users to contact up to five numbers if they find themselves in a pickle. Both phones are expected to cost less than $150.

So what do you guys think? Even if you're in ideal shape for a smartphone, do you ever find yourself wanting a phone from the good ol' days? (As long as it means the rest of the population will revert back with you, of course.)