What to do with your old smartphone

What to do with your old smartphone'

As they were last year, smartphones, and now tablets, will be some of the most popular presents this Christmas but with the life cycle of the average smartphone coming in (at most) at about 18 months it seems a shame to just forget about your old device.

So, come January, how can you put your old device to good use?  Apart from giving it to a family member or leaving it to gather dust in the back of some draw here are some options available so you can get the most from your old smartphone.

Use it as a media device.
How often do we use our smartphones as phones?  More than making phone calls or sending SMS messages we use our smartphones as media playing devices.  This doesn’t have to change once you upgrade your phone.  A new MP3 player – whether it’s an Android powered device or, more likely, an iPod, will set you back a couple of hundred yet an old phone will do you just the same. This will, at least, save you from running down your phone’s battery.

If you don’t like carrying around two phones with you (even if one isn’t connected to a cellular network) when you’re out, then you could leave your old phone at home and use it to stream media from your home network or just keep it docked to your stereo.

Use it for spying.
Okay, so we’re not suggesting that you use your old phone to spy on the neighbors but (for whatever reason) you can use it to keep an eye or ear on what’s happening around the house.  Here’s how it works;

Download an app like IP Webcam and then, on your computer, download iSpy – a an open source PC application that allows you to access audio/video equipment connected to your home network.  With iSpy set up you’ll be able to remotely view and record audio and video from your phone.  It’s probably not the most practical use for your old smartphone but its fun to set up.

Give it to charity
Many charities now collect now collect old smartphones; which they will then recommission for their recipients.  Some will even pay for your old phone, so they can strip it down into its basic parts. It’s best to check these charities out to see just what they’ll do with your old device when you donate it.

Use it as a second screen
Second Screens are big business these days – everyone wants to get in on the game.  So, since your phone/tablet is going to become increasingly used for interacting with your TV (often as a TV remote or just for tweeting) then it’s just as easy to use your old smart device as a dedicated second screen than your new phone.

Of course, the other option is to use it as a backup device in case your new phone is lost or stolen.

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1 Comment

  1. pdscott

    November 19, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    @paddy2k nice, how did he do it?I like iSpy’s motion detection/email alerts system but the latest release is a bit buggy

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Piers Dillon-Scott is co-editor of The Sociable and writes about stuff he finds. He likes technology, media, and using the Oxford comma (because it just makes sense).

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