I have 2 old Android phones (HTC Sensation and Xperia Z) that used to just lie around in my cupboard gathering dust. I tried to sell them online before upgrading, but in my experience, smartphones these days don’t come with much resale value. I was not offered even 25% of what I had originally invested in these phones and therefore was never convinced to sell them.
But they are not locked up in the cupboard anymore, as they are set up around the house for various productive uses. The Xperia Z is now an audio system with navigation in my car and the HTC Sensation kills my boredom while making morning tea and breakfast. I stream videos from my laptop to my old device while my coffee gets brewed.
Sounds interesting, right? Let’s see a bunch of innovative uses you can put your old Android phone to rather than selling it for just a few bucks.
1. Wi-Fi Live Streaming Camera
You can turn your Android phone into a monitor that gives you a live feed of any room. It can act as a baby monitor, security surveillance on the balcony, shops, and office areas. Just install Camera Stream, a free app from the Play Store, and stream the feed right on your browser.
The app is as easy as it can get when it comes to configuration. Just install, run the server, and put it in the charging cradle in the room where you want to retrieve the live feed. Finally, open the IP in the monitoring device’s browser and get the feed. There might be occasional lag, but for a free app you can’t complain.
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2. Digital Photo Frame
This idea might not be suitable for phones, but can be ideal for old tablets lying around. The Digital Photo Frame Slideshow app can help you to turn tablets into a digital photo frame. You can load photos onto the memory card or even stream images from your personal computer over Wi-Fi. There are plenty of effects you can add for the slideshow.
The only thing you might have to invest in is a cover that includes a stand. If you can arrange that, you will get more than what you get with any other digital photo frame that includes crisp and vibrant display with hours of battery backup.
3. Media Streamer Around the House
This one is my personal favorite. I don’t get much time to sit and watch movies or TV, but as I mentioned above, I now use my Xperia Z to stream videos while I am in the kitchen.
The files are hosted on a personal computer and shared over Wi-Fi. ES File Explorer on Android can then be used to view and play these files on the device. Here’s a full detailed guide on how to access Windows shared files over Android.
4. Wireless Controllers for PC
Whatever your needs might be, presentation or gaming, you can use your Android as a wireless controller for your PC. When it comes to office and home use, you can turn your Android into a mouse and keyboard controller for your PC and also create dedicated program macros to control individual applications.
For people who love gaming, turn your Android into a wireless gaming controller using this simple app. The phone might turn into a very expensive controller, but the way you get to show off in front of friends is priceless.
5. Remote for IR Enabled Devices
Not many devices get to enter the club, but the ones that have an IR blaster can be used as a remote for TV, audio systems, and even the AC you have in the house. Take the Samsung Galaxy S4 as an example; ASmart Remote IR can turn it into a beautiful remote to control any IR enabled device.
The app works way better than the stock app that comes pre-installed with most HTC, Samsung, and Xiaomi phones. The graphics are cool and it supports many household devices.
6. Car Multimedia Hub and Navigator
If you have a car audio system with Bluetooth connectivity or even an aux input, your Android can be used as a multimedia hub and a navigator. There are many apps available on the Play Store that make your device better than a TomTom without a penny of investment.
Drivemode Beta is a hotcake on the Play Store for apps like these, but I haven’t had time to test it myself. Planning to review it along with a few other apps over the coming weekend while my wife and I take a road trip to the nearest hill station.
So these were some of the ideas off the top of my head when it comes to productive use of old Android devices lying around. What do you think about them? If you would like to suggest additional out-of-the-box use, please comment and share your experiences.