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uses for old android phoneIf anyone were to craft a Toy Story homage based on smartphones, it would be a depressing tale. Smartphones are bought, loved, and then discarded – often all within two or three years. While these older smartphones can sometimes be sold or traded, they’re usually left to be forgotten in a bottom drawer or the bottom of a trash can.

These out of date smartphones aren’t useless, however. They can often be adapted to other purposes, makes it possible to squeeze a little extra value from them.

Portable Audio Player

uses for old android phone

Even the oldest smartphones have sufficient power to play portable audio, and the small size and excellent battery life makes discarded devices the perfect candidates for an audio player.

If you’re interested in using your Android in this manner, I suggest downloading a mobile player such as Winamp Winamp Releases Android Media Player 1.0 [News] Winamp Releases Android Media Player 1.0 [News] Read More to manage your mobile library. Put your chosen player’s widget on the primary screen and then par down the number of screens to just one.

However, you don’t have to stop there. While you may not have data service, you can still connect to WiFi, which means your Android can access online radio services like Pandora 5 Cool Things You Can Do With Pandora Music Radio 5 Cool Things You Can Do With Pandora Music Radio Read More and can use podcast management software like BeyondPod.

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Handheld Gaming System

uses for android phone

Chances are your newer Android smartphone can play more games than your older one, or play them more smoothly. So why turn your old device into a game system?

Battery life is one reason. Games require the display to be one and often place a heavy load on the hardware, which can tear through a battery in three or four hours. If you use your phone constantly, having an alternative device that can be used solely for games can take a load off your primary phone’s battery.

This can also be a great toy to hand off to a young child. He or she will be able to play games, and you don’t have to worry if the device is smashed – it may cause some heartache, but at least you won’t be out some cash.

WiFi Phone

uses for android phone

Your old smartphone may not have data service, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make calls. By using Skype, it’s possible to make calls via a WiFi connection, which will continue to work. Google Voice is also an option.

Whatever you choose to use, your old phone can be used just like a normal one as long as it’s on your WiFi network and the VoIP app you are using is active. The WiFi phone can be used as a backup and/or used as a landline replacement.

Portable Hard Drive

uses for android phone

Android phones connect to PCs for data transfer quite easily, which makes them candidates for use as mobile storage devices. My current Thunderbolt, for example, has almost 40GB of storage space available. Although older phones may not have quite that much, they likely can support at least 16GB with a SD card 3 Cool Ways To Use SD Memory Cards 3 Cool Ways To Use SD Memory Cards SD memory cards are one of the most common forms of mobile storage, but they also tend to be very specific in their purpose. On their own, these cards tend to be less useful than... Read More upgrade.

Old phones are not the most ideal portable storage solutions, as they’re larger than USB drives. However, because a smartphone has a display it’s possible to browse the files currently on the device, something no USB drive or portable hard drive can do.

Alarm Clock

uses for old android phone

If all else fails, you may want to throw your old smartphone on your night stand – and leave it there.

Using a smartphone as an alarm clock is nothing new. However, dedicating an old smartphone to use as an alarm clock has its advantages. Your phone no longer has to be beside you at night, which means you can eliminate the annoyance of 4am texts from not-so-sober friends.

If you want to dedicate yourself to this use, you can even buy a dock for your old Android phone. This will keep your device charged, and some docks offer speakers as well, turning your device into a bedside audio player as well.

Conclusion

These five uses are great ways to utilize an old Android phone, but they’re surely not the only ones. If you have an idea that you think is excellent, please let us know in the comments!

  1. sigh
    October 29, 2011 at 10:50 am

    What a stupid article. You are basically saying you can use your old smartphone as a smartphone. Which no one would as they have a newer smartphone. Every use you list is not an alternative use but a basic feature of the phone.

    • M.S. Smith
      November 3, 2011 at 12:52 am

      Uh, of course. Want else is a smartphone going to do besides smartphone things? It's not going to fly you around or make your a burger. Because it's a smartphone.

      The point is that once you have your new smartphone, your old smartphone is still sitting around but without the ever-crucial data service because you probably don't need two phones. So what are you going to do with it? 

      The things I listed in this article.

      • Tina
        November 3, 2011 at 8:42 am

        I would love to see that same article, but for an even more out of date Windows Mobile smartphone! :)

  2. Artismad
    September 21, 2011 at 2:07 am

    How about using a permanent mount near your stereo in conjunction with wifi and google music...

    • M.S. Smith
      September 30, 2011 at 8:19 am

      I think that sounds like a good idea. Audio quality from an Android phone may not be good enough to satisfy audiophiles, but for most situations it should work well.

  3. Julius Leachman III
    August 22, 2011 at 6:40 am

    Those are some great alternate uses Matt. I wouldn't have thought to turn it into a handheld gaming system. I'll make sure to remember that...

  4. Fr. Stephen Supica
    August 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Frankly, I can't afford the $720 ($30/month over a two-year contract) for a Verizon smart phone data plan. So when my Palm Centro dies, I'm looking at picking up an outdated Android phone to use as a WiFi-only PDA along with a Verizon dumb phone.

    • M.S. Smith
      September 30, 2011 at 8:19 am

      That's not a bad idea at all, given the prevalence of WiFi. You do lose a lot of flexibility but not everyone needs the ability to look up the capital of Montana anytime, anywhere ;)

    • Julius Leachman III
      September 30, 2011 at 9:00 pm

      That's certainly what I plan on doing. I also plan to get a phone whose sole purpose will be for testing new CynanogenMod ROMS before I flash the WiFi-only phone or flash someone else's. If you're looking for outdated that are still in good working condition on the cheap checkout swappa.com. They've got a nice thing going...

  5. Skimaniaz
    August 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    A few quick ideas involve the GPS.  You can use it as a GPS in your car, on the trail, on a bike or on a boat so you don't have to expose your new phone to the elements.  
    Also good for Geocaching.  Store the caches you are looking for while on Wifi.Stream Pandora (or other) over wifi.  Pass it on to younger children to use at home. 

  6. DexterP17
    August 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I was going to make my myTouch Slide 3G into an audio player when I got me a newer Android phone. All I would do is get a bigger memory card for it.

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