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Savvy silver-haired lot lapping up new toys

Friends think he is too old for his hobby, and his wife nags him for spending too much time and money on it.

James Seah’s love of personal digital assistants (PDAs) has seen him spend a fortune. The 59-year-old once even worked part-time at a SingTel Hello shop just to get his hands on the latest models. He was a sales promoter, and sold one of the first PDAs that could make phone calls.

“When you put your calls through the speakerphone, you could see how surprised people were to see a ‘talking’ PDA,” he gushed, recalling that period.

The former financial supervisor is among a growing band of silver-haired geeks, who are proving to be as passionate about the latest gizmos as teenagers.

The over-60 seniors with spending power are lapping up the latest PDAs, cellphones and digital cameras.

Some are also wandering everywhere online, joining Internet communities, playing games and connecting with other older netizens.

If they are retired or working part-time, they also have a lot of time to spend on their hobbies.

Seah, for example, was retrenched from his job in 2003 after 28 years, and now works at home on his own business from 6pm to 10pm.

The silver-haired tech brigade offers a twist to the typical image of a cellphone-toting teenager or young executive, and its rise is something companies may do well to heed, say experts.

A study by MasterCard last year put computers and mobile phones among the top five purchases for seniors above 65 in wealthy Asian countries. – The Straits Times (SG) / Asia News Network

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy