Pretty and Practical: A ring that alerts

At first, Ringly struck us as one of those ridiculous person-who-has-everything items: It’s a $200-ish ring that vibrates when you get a call or other mobile message because Heaven forbid you’d take your phone out of your purse. But at second glance, we realized seniors could customize the vibrations to signal reminders of medication times, appointments, and other health alerts. And it’s gorgeous.

Clockwise from top left: Black Onyx, Pink Sapphire, Rainbow Moonstone, Emerald (sold out). Courtesy: Ringly

Clockwise from top left: Black Onyx, Pink Sapphire, Rainbow Moonstone, Emerald (sold out). Courtesy: Ringly

It looks like a high fashion gemstone ring, so even if it’s not used for its intended purpose, it’s a lovely piece of jewelry for those who can afford it. Unlike hearing aids and other obvious medical devices, there’s no reason to worry you’ll “look old,” if you wear it.

It could work well for independent seniors who’ve set health apps and medication alerts on their phones or tablets, as well as for caregivers and long-distance children who need to make sure reminders are received. If you can wear a ring to bed, you can wear Ringly. It’s water-resistant (you can wash your hands with it on), but not fully water-proof, so don’t try to swim with it.

We caution that we don’t know how heavy it is, the designers describe the 14 x 19mm center stone (that’s about ½ by ¾ of an inch) as “approximately the size of an almond.”

The rings are being offered, for now, only in sizes 6, 7 and 8 and cannot be re-sized. Ringly is taking discounted pre-orders at $145-$180, depending on the stone, and planning to ship rings in the fall. Retail prices will be $195 and $260. The company plans to eventually offer different designs, including styles suitable for men. (Men with a bold sense of style may like the currently available black onyx ring.)

comScore Report on Mobile Usage–Seniors Score!

comScore, which provides measurements of digital usage for marketers, is out with its U.S. Mobile App Report. Unsurprisingly, in a world of smart phones, tablets, and that ludicrous portmanteau “phablets,” time spent on mobile apps (as opposed to browser time) has jumped 52%. According to comScore’s statistics, this should not come as news to many seniors, who represent a sizable segment of mobile users.

For those not fully up on their geek, the distinction is: An “app” is a small program you need to download to your mobile device, as opposed to simply typing the name of a site into a web browser. While you can still use a browser on a mobile device, the advantage of downloading apps is that they’re written to run better and faster (“natively”) on mobile devices and may also offer functions beyond those found on their browser versions. In addition, certain location-based programs may only be available as mobile apps.

(Charts courtesy comScore. Click to make them larger.)

Granted, it's a little less impressive when you realize how many years are covered in each bracket.

Granted, it’s a little less impressive when you compare how many years are included in each bracket.

The top four apps for those under the age of 35 are: Facebook, Pandora Radio, Instagram, and YouTube (the last two are reversed for 25-34). Starting at age 35, Instagram loses its place in the top four to Facebook Messenger. After age 54, it drops out entirely, replaced by Solitaire, and, yes, we do find that depressing. Happily, the Scrabble-like Words with Friends also makes the list.

Yes, 55+, because you and your grandmother/grandchild have so much in common.

55+, because you and your grandmother/grandchild have so much in common.

The full report is available for free download; however, comScore requires a business (or presumably academic) email address. We’d like to require they learn how to capitalize.