12 Ways to Put Your Old Smartphone or Tablet to Use
So, you have a new phone that doesn’t leave your side. Sure, you can get rid of the old one either by selling or donating, but there is another option: give it a second life with a different purpose.
An old phone or tablet can be a great hand-me-down device for a child, family member, or can serve as your dedicated smart TV companion, amongst many other features. So before you put it on the auction block, consider one of these uses instead that may add some value and ease of use to your digital life.
1. The Children's Tablet
Tired of the children always clamouring to get their paws on your smartphone? Now’s the chance to give them a device that’s all their own. You’ll probably need to do a little bit of work beforehand, such as deleting applications you don’t want them to use or creating a separate profile that they sign in with. But setting up a device that's loaded with kid-friendly apps can be a great way for some quality learning experiences and ensuring your personal phone doesn't meet an unfortunate end.
2. The Streaming Hub
There’s a smarter way to do TV than the awkward interface that comes with most cable boxes. The Chromecast Ultra is particularly good for this, but unfortunately Google doesn’t package a remote with the hardware. If you don’t want to rely on your phone for navigating the Chromecast, then this may be a great spot for the recently-retired smartphone or tablet. Just make sure the Google Home app is on, it’s connected to your television, and you’ll be able to touch and watch with relative ease.
3. A Security Cam
Don’t forget that your old device comes with two cameras. One possibility is to turn it into a cheap and easy security cam. There are a lot of potential uses for this, such as a baby monitor, kitty cam, or front door camera, amongst many other places.
4. Dedicated Alarm Clock
Maybe you’re trying to break your smartphone habit. Instead of having it waiting for you there on the nightstand to mock you with unread tweets, perhaps put an older device there instead and use it as your alarm. You could also use this device for light reading in the morning before starting out for the day without all of the notifications to distract you that are probably waiting on your phone. The Google Clock app does an admirable job, so it's all you really need to start your day off right.
5. A Tablet For Grandma
If you have a relative who still thinks you must physically type in “http://www” for every website you visit, perhaps you can gift the gift of an easy-to-use Android device. An old tablet or phone may be the right way to go, as they won’t need something with mind-blowing specs and could probably benefit from the personal setup you can provide when gifting this to them. Of course, be wary. Depending on how “needy” this family member is, you always may end up on the hook for lifetime tech support.
6. Your Smart eReader
If you have a smaller tablet or maybe a large phone that has older specs, it may work well for reading books, magazines, or just browsing through the web. It’s ideal for just setting it on the coffee table or elsewhere where you’d like to grab something that isn’t loaded down with social networks or email accounts and is just for focusing on exercising your mind. And a tablet is going to do a better job at highlighting text and looking up a topic through the web than a simpler eReader.
7. A Digital Photo Frame
Once upon a time the must-have gadget for everybody was a digital photo frame. They've kind of fallen out of favour now that it’s so easy to just pull up the latest pictures with your phone and share them around or cast it to the TV screen. But if you set up some images as a screensaver, it can breathe in a little digital life into anywhere you’d like to try out setting up your old phone or tablet for constant viewing. Or just pick a favourite image, tell the screen to never turn off, and your smiling family member is always on the counter to greet you.
8. Your Dedicated Music Player
Smarter music listening is easily within reach. If you subscribe to Spotify, Google Play Music, or another service then you could make an old phone or tablet your digital turntable. If internet is not an option you can download music and use the phone as your MP3 player.
9. Media Remote
Nowadays the quality of remote controllers are generally poor. Whether its for a home built media centre or a TV, a smartphone is more than capable of being turned into a media remote, with the appropriate app. Media remote apps are available for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone, and can replace multiple remote controls in your household to one handy lightweight touchscreen solution.
Dashcams have become quite handy nowadays, whether you want to catch meteors or flying cars on video, pr have a more practical use for it like catching collisions or aggressive driving. A smartphone can be perfect for this.
11. Make It Your Live Video Into The World
Use your old smartphone or tablet to bring you anywhere around the world, using the Earthcam Webcams app, giving you access to live streaming cameras from around the world, ranging from the Statue of Liberty to the Niagara Falls. A handy way to make up for the lack of a view from your office desk.
12. Keep It As A Backup
Accidents can easily happen. One moment you’re enjoying a walk along the water, and the next minute you’re watching your phone plunk into the Atlantic Ocean. That’s when you’ll be glad that you held onto that old phone. That old Samsung Galaxy S4 you've been hanging onto may be able to jump back into service while you wait for your replacement order to come in. Or maybe you're just a couple of weeks away from a new release, and the backup can get you by. Either way, this will keep you from being totally offline until the replacement arrives.
Source: Derek Walter, www.networkworld.com
- Joseph Flaherty