If you are like me, you probably have two, three or more old smartphones lying around, collecting dust. If they are still functional, they are still useful. I will pull out the old Palm Pre, charge it and use it to play a few games or even surf the web. It has a good browser and I downloaded a fair number of decent games, a couple will even work with the iPhone/iPad counterparts for multi player action (Shrek Racing, for one.) So, what can you do with those old phones? Well, read on for a few suggestions…
If you have an old iPhone, Android or Windows Phone 7, there is the Kindle app. There was also a Nook reader app for Android. There are also a few e-reader apps from other companies that are available on these and other devices like the Palm Pre. There a thousands of free ebooks as well.
Older iPhones, Android and Windows Phones have Skype clients that will allow you to use that old smartphone, over WiFi, as a phone. Imagine that. You can use it at home and save those minutes on your cell. Carry one for use when near a hotspot in case your phone has poor service or, again, to save those minutes. (Granted, it could be cumbersome carrying around multiple devices.)
Most older smartphones come with some kind of browser. iPhones, even the first gen, have the sufficient Safari and Android has it’s native browser. Firefox and/or Chrome may also be available. The Palm Pre has an excellent browser and Windows Phone 7’s Internet Explorer, well, it works.
Here’s where devices like iPhone and Android really shine. There are a ton of games out there for both of these platforms. If your phone is powerful enough, this can be a great alternative to the Nintendo or Sony handhelds. Or, like me, why not have them in addition to the Nintendo or Sony offerings? Lots of the games for the smartphones simply are not available for either Nintendo or Sony handhelds. I still pull out the Palm Pre and play some of those games. Even my old Motorola Q has a few games I like. It had a nice Sim City game. Hmm…where did I put that? Even older, non-WiFi phones like the Palm Centro had some decent games. If you still have it, why not use it?
Ok, I’m stretching here, but I use my HTC Shift for weather and email as a secondary screen for my PC. I have it connected via USB so it continuously gets power. Right now, I am using the built in apps, so it isn’t a true secondary display, HOWEVER…there is an app called iDisplay which turns your Android device into a true secondary display. For more, read here and here. There are also other apps like AirDisplay.
iPhones, especially, make decent portable players. An iPhone is, essentially, an iPod Touch with the cell capability. Android, Palm Pre and Windows Phones are all good media players as well. My Pre came pre loaded with the Amazon player and Androids have the Google Play store. There are tons of apps, for all major platforms, like Pandora and YouTube. This is, next to games, perhaps the best use of these devices.
Nearly all smartphones have cameras. Some are poor, but most of them are fairly decent. The iPhone and Nokia smartphones have excellent cameras. You can keep one in the car or your bag and when the shutterbug strikes, you’ll have at least one camera around. I know, your shiny new phone has one too. And it probably is better, but on your older device, you’ll have storage that you may not want to use on your new device. They can make good video cameras as well.
ALL cell phones, smart or otherwise, can still place a 911 call, no matter if you have service on them or not. As long as they are in a cell network, they can place a 911 call. This is an FCC mandate, so if, for no other reason, you could keep one (charges, of course) in a car or your home for an emergency. The key, however, is to keep it charged up and readily available.
There are, of course, other uses for the phones, these are just a few suggestions. Others include remote control of televisions, cable boxes, Roku devices and more. Calculators, portable databases, USB storage, etc. My point is that just because you got something shinier and newer, doesn’t mean these older ones are useless. They even make great mini-tablets for young children. Since they are no longer in cell service, they cannot make calls so why not let them have one for games or Netflix?