Monday, 17 November 2014

What to do with old smartphones or tablets?

You bought a smartphone or tablet? Now your question is, "What will I do with my old device?" Did you already think of that?

In this article I will show you 12 ways to make one yesteryear "pearl" into something useful.

Yes, I know you will tell me that you can still make a few bucks by selling it or that you can donate to people that may still use it - those are my two preferences. However most people prefer to keep the devices so here are the 12 tips apart from sale or donation.

1. Security Camera
Have you ever thought about using your old smartphone or tablet as a safety device? With your old equipment and with the help of services like iCamSpy, Presence or Manything you can keep your eye both on your home and your children. Note: please use security mechanism so that no other people can access to your recordings.

2. Remote control
Currently, there are several services that allow remote control features, there are plenty of apps that can pair with your Android/iPhone and your TV. You can use apps like XBMC Remote, Plex Remote, XBox SmartGlass, among many others.
You can even take your smartphone to control your Nikon and Canon, because they have a remote control apps designed for that purpose. But there is more, much more. From now you can use it to control your services or your other devices remotely.

3. MP3 Player
Does your old smartphone have a reasonable storage capacity? Yes? Perfect, from this moment you may use it in your day-to-day.
Basically, you can set it as an MP3 player. Even, if your car has no CD player you can still use your old USB device to play your favourite songs. (Note: my father is still using my first mp3 player in is '74 Triumph Spitfire)

4. Digital Photo Frame
Are you able to keep your old device plugged in? Great, you can use it as a digital photo frame. And how can you do this? To do this, simply disable the locking and dimming the screen features and install the application Dayframe or Picmatic applications for the Android and iOS respectively. Thereby transforming your old device in an excellent frame of digital photographs.

5. E-Reader
A great choice for those who usually go to work by public transport on a long boring trip, you can use that time to read. Simply install the Instapaper or Pocket application, and from that moment on, your old device will be your newest digital book reader.

6. Alarm clock
Is your alarm clock still those who wake you up with an annoying noise? How about using your old phone as an alarm? This can be an excellent option, simply install applications such as Wake, Timely, or Walk Me Up, the latter only goes off after you take a few steps.
With these applications, and many others you may also find features that allow you to be woken up with your favourite songs.

7. Social Networks
Are you passionate for social networks? What if you use your old device as support for your notebook? Basically you can keep your old device close by while working at the same time you check messages that are sent to you or news which are being shared by everyone worldwide. All this, of course, as long you have a Wi-Fi network available.
To help you with this type of use there are very useful applications such as the TweetBot, Robird, Facebook or even official apps of your favorite social networks.

8. Toy for Children
Do you have children at home? This may be an excellent destination for your old device. Before handing it to your children you should still activate the parental control options. Then is a matter of finding the most relevant applications and educational games.
(Note: Some time ago, I wrote an article called "Internet more relevant than Eating or Sleeping: The Parents nigthmare...", this is an important article for people with children, if you have children at home please read it)

9. Radio
Does your old device has a Wi-Fi connection and radio functionality? Great, you can still have a great use with your device.
You can install applications such as TuneIn Radio or even the iHeartRadio, and hear online radio coming from all corners of the world.

10. Word Processor
Now with the free availability of Microsoft Office for Android and iOS, you can install Word on your old device and turn it into a great word processor.
Of course this is only a good option if you have a keyboard connected via Bluetooth, otherwise will be a bit tricky to write long texts.

11. Weather Information
There are several applications that you can use to get weather information. Thus, you can use applications such as WeatherSignal or even Barometer & Altimeter for iOS and Android respectively to build your own barometer.

12. Install and learn a new Operating System
There are more operating systems than the ones offered by Microsoft and Apple. If you your smartphone/tablet or computer are old and slow maybe you should consider installing a operating system that does not require so much capacity. Ubunto has some options for tablets, for computers I already recommended quite a few times Linux Mint. These beside being open-source they tend to be free as well.
These options, normally based on Linux, normally provide a longer life expectancy for your (older) devices and you will also have the option to learn a different operating system. I promise you, it is not as difficult as you imagine... maybe you'll be convinced and from that point on you join the group that only use open-source and free systems!

In conclusion...
Your "old" device does not have to be a dead device, these are just a few tips on how you can use it after buying a newer device. As I said previously, you can also sell or donate it but essentially you should start considering if you can reduce the amount of waste produced... maybe, just maybe, you don't really need to buy a new smarphone every year...

If you use your devices differently let me know, I am always keen to find other options for it.

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Blog Editor and Owner: Luis Aparicio Fernandes (or Mikey) is a Business Expert and a Traveler based in Sydney, Australia. He is a member of The International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma due to his achievements in business. You can follow Luis on Google+, and LinkedIn.