Thanks to cut-throat competition among smartphone manufacturers, every new year now comes with a new batch of devices, all packing better hardware, and updated software. For many users, therefore, there’s always a recurring desire for the next best phone on the shelves, which means that, while nearly all smartphones are designed to last at least a few years, many shoppers go back to the store after only a couple of months.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to want the newest, most feature-packed device around. But, just because you’ve got a shiny new phone doesn’t mean your old handset is now useless.
There are many interesting ways to make use of outdated smartphones. Below are a few tips which can help you turn your old Android smartphone into a tool that will make your life easier.
1. A media server for your TV
Your smartphone might be aging, but it can still access the Internet. So, if you want to stream multimedia content to your big-screen TV but it doesn’t have smart-TV functionality, it’s the perfect tool for the job. The easiest way to turn your dumb television into a smart TV is through an HDMI cable and a micro-USB to HDMI MHL adapter. Whatever appears on the phone will show up in widescreen view on your TV.
Alternatively, you can send media content from a smartphone to a TV via Wi-Fi. DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) and Miracast technologies, for example, allow some high-end phones to connect to compatible TVs as long as both devices are connected to the same network.
Lastly, if both your smartphone and your TV are from the same manufacturer, you can check whether there are apps available, with which to make the connection. An example is Samsung’s premium Galaxy devices which use the AllShare app to stream content to compatible Samsung TVs.
2. A wireless hotspot
The Internet is as much a necessity as basic home or office furniture. If you’re wondering how you can stay connected without the hassle of elaborate installations, your old smartphone could be the perfect option. Just pop a new SIM card with a 3G/4G data pack into the phone, enable the portable wireless option, and choose a desirable spot to place it. To avoid accidental network interruption, you can have the phone constantly plugged into a power source.
Repurposing your old device into a Wi-Fi hotspot is a convenient way to get your devices connected to the Internet. And, best of all, you can take your little router everywhere for Web access while on the go.
3. A tool for developing
The open-source nature of the OS makes any Android smartphone a potential instrument for software developers and tinkerers. There are countless numbers of programming tools for Android devices, which range from apps to complete ROMS, launchers, and themes. With a spare Android phone, you can start tweaking and experimenting around the ecosystem for learning and developing purposes.
Furthermore, an operating system like Debian can be used to convert any Android smartphone into a Linux-based PC, onto which you can install popular programs, such as LibreOffice and GIMP. If you want to do some developer’s work on Linux but would rather keep it separate from your every-day computer, simply install Debian on your old phone, connect it to a monitor, and then sync up a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
4. A dashboard navigator
Not all cars come with built-in GPS navigation, but your backup Android smartphone can fill the role perfectly. Just remove whatever unnecessary apps it holds and install a mapping app like Google Maps or HERE WeGo.Both applications come with features like turn-by-turn voice navigation and shortest-route calculations. You can also download full maps for offline use.
Third-party designers have seemingly identified the growing use of smartphones as navigation tools, and as a result, phone mounters specially made to fit on the dashboard of your car are available on the market.
5. A first smartphone for your child
Gone are the days when kids used to be okay with getting toy cars and balloons for their birthday. Today, every child wants a smartphone. The fact that we, the adults, spend an awful amount of time on our handsets has not helped things either. It’s, therefore, no surprise that kids nowadays think mobile phones are the coolest things in the world, even if Mom and Dad may not be able to afford the high price of even a bottom of the range Android handset to get them started.
If you’re not sold on the idea of buying a brand-new smartphone for your child, you can kill two birds with one stone by handing them your old device.
6. A surveillance camera
If your old smartphone still has an operational camera, you can use it to keep an eye on a room at your home or your office. All you need is the right app and a good hiding spot. IP Webcam and tinyCam Monitor, for example, enable a user to view live video remotely via a web browser and upload recorded videos to cloud storage services.
Smartphone cameras aren’t exactly designed to be security cameras, but using your old gadget for the job is a good way to keep your prized belongings safe.
These are just some of the many ways you can make good use of an old smartphone. Take the time to figure out which suits you best, and breathe new life to your outdated Android phone.