NEW YORK – When you purchase a new smartphone? Don’t give your old one away for a pittance.
We show you different ways you can put that old smartphone to work around the home, office or while you’re on the move.
1. Use it as a Wireless Router
Using the built-in WiFi Hotspot feature, you can easily use an old phone as a portable router. Plug in a 3G SIM card and choose a data plan with a good data limit.
You can then carry the phone around in your pocket and connect all your other devices (laptop/tablet/phones) to it for data access instead of using individual SIM cards for each device. Make sure to setup a secure access password or else anyone will be able to connect and use your hotspot.
2. Use it as Media Player on Your TV
If your smartphone has TVout (via MHL or HDMI out), then you can easily convert it into a flash based media player for the TV. Get a high capacity memory card for your smartphone and copy your movies and music onto it.
Next, just connect the TV and smartphone using a MHL or HDMI cable, connect the phone to a power outlet (constant media playing will consume a lot of battery) and enjoy your music/movies on a big screen.
3. Use it as a test bed for apps
The number of apps is growing exponentially on each smartphone platform, be it Android, BlackBerry, iOS or Windows Phone. However, it is not always easy to identify which apps are actually useful for you. Use your old smartphone as a test device to check out new apps before installing them on your main smartphone to save your device from bloatware.
4. Turn it into a wireless security camera or baby monitor
There are a number of free apps that can convert your smartphone into a wireless security camera. Try IP Webcam for Android or iVigilo Smartcam for iOS — these apps use your phone’s camera to stream live video that can be viewed in any web browser, any video player that supports streaming or on another smartphone/tablet.
5. Use an emulator to turn it into a retro gaming device
Old gaming systems had very basic hardware compared to the phones and tablets of today. That’s why you can use software emulation to run older games on a current phone. Some of the older systems that you can emulate include several versions of Nintendo and Sega systems (Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 64, GameBoy Advance, Dreamcast and so on).
6. Use it as a standalone GPS Navigator
Google Maps and navigation is free on your Android phone and you’ve probably used this while driving. This means that with an old Android phone, you don’t need to buy a standalone GPS navigator for the car — just keep your old phone permanently mounted in the car. All you need is a car windscreen or dashboard mount for the phone and a generic micro USB 12V car charger to keep the battery juiced up.
7. Use it as a PC Remote
If you have a desktop or a micro PC connected to a TV, you will probably prefer to sit a few feet away. An obvious way to control the PC would be a wireless keyboard-mouse, but this isn’t too convenient if you’re on a couch. The smartphone is handy in this case — especially if you’re using the PC for web browsing or entertainment on the large screen. Get a free app called Mobile Mouse Lite (by RPA Technology) and download the server software from www. mobilemouse.com (the server software is an essential component, and is available for all versions of Windows & Macs).
8. Use it for data backup or extra storage on the move
If you’re out capturing photographs and you run of out storage on the camera’s memory card, an old smartphone can come in handy. You can transfer the photographs over to it and even review them on the screen without draining the camera battery.
To use your Android smartphone for data backup, it needs to have a micro SD card slot and USB host capability.
9. Get a HUD in your car
A HUD or head up display projects an image onto the windscreen so that it appears to float in mid air. The primary advantage of a HUD is that your eyes don’t have to refocus to see gauges and then refocus again to see the road ahead. While HUD technology is not entirely new (it’s commonplace in fighter jets), with a smartphone, you can have a HUD in any car. Many apps are available, though we like Ulysse Speedometer. All you need is a non-slip mat on the dashboard and the app.