Friday, December 30, 2011

What to do with your old Android smartphone

Today's smartphones are actually computers.  In fact, they are much more powerful than desktop PC's were just 10 years ago.  Unlike ordinary mobile phones, smartphones still have many uses even when they are no longer activated on a cellular network.  I have captured a few ideas below.
  1. Use it as a music/video player.  Many people paid good money to buy iPods back in the day.  Today's Android phones are more powerful and more flexible than an iPod.  You can use the WiFi connection to use Android Market, Amazon, Pandora, Tune-In Radio, Napster, or many other music services to buy and stream music and videos as well as free radio.  Use the Bluetooth A2DP streaming to listen to music using any Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP) receiver.  You can also share and control your music using DLNA.
  2. Use it as an OBDII scan tool for your car.  For about $25 you can buy a Bluetooth OBDII scan tool on eBay.  Just do a search for ELM327 Bluetooth on eBay and you are sure to find many.  There are several OBDII scan tool apps available on Android Market.  Torque is one of the best.  You can read and clear your fault codes and turn OFF your Check Engine light.  You can also read engine parameters and much more.
  3. Use it as a Skype phone.  Have a home WiFi and use Skype?  You can use your old Android phone to make Skype calls just like you do on your PC.  Just download the free Skype app from Android Market.  The same is true for Google Talk and Google Voice.
  4. Use it for GPS navigation.  Most Android devices also have GPS receivers in them.  The newer versions of Google Maps for Android support map cache.  Before you go on a trip, cache all the areas you will be traveling.  You can use Google Maps on the PC to set up your destinations and routes too. 
  5. Use it as a camera/camcorder.  These devices are compact but have decent cameras in them.  They make a very handy camera for photos and video.  They will also capture the GPS location of the photos and video which is very handy.  Once you get to a WiFi connection, you can post them to Google+, Facebook, Picasa, or many other photo and video sites.
  6. Use it to play games.  There are many games out there that don't need a constant data connection. 
  7. Use it like you used your old PDA.  You can create and edit documents, spreadsheets, etc.  The calendar also still works and it will sync with your Google calendars. 
  8. Use it as an alarm clock.  You can also use the timer app.  There are many great alarm clock apps on Android Market.
The phone is just one app on the Android phone. I don't tend to use the phone much.  I spend most of my time on my mobile device using apps and data services.  All of that will still work except you will need a WiFi connection.  It is no longer as mobile as it was when it had an active cellular and data plan.  I have often wondered if the cellular companies would let you active it for data only?  If you could, then you would only be missing cellular phone (although Skype would still work fine) and SMS/MMS (text and media messaging, although GTalk, email, Gmail, etc would all work fine).  Everything else would work fine.
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