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5 great uses for your old smartphone

5 great uses for your old smartphone

Don't throw away your old Android! I know, it's tempting now that you got that longed-for new device for Christmas!

But don't just toss out your old smartphones. If you're like most people, including me, you've got junk drawers full of old digital devices. Seriously, if you dig around long enough you might find a pager in there. You'll almost certainly find older Androids that are just collecting dust.

Well, we've got several suggestions for getting a lot more value from those old smartphones. Of course, you do want to keep a spare one in your house.

You might need it if you lose your phone, it's stolen or a friend from another country doesn't want to rack up roaming charges. Keep that phone somewhere you'll remember and just activate it when you need to by calling your cellphone provider.

For the other Androids, here are five ideas that will surprise you and will save you money. Please don't skip No. 4 - It'll make your day!

Bonus: How to detect a virus on your Android

Universal Remote Control

Smartphones are great, aren't they? Just when you think you've tapped out their many uses, you discover a new one.

For instance, maybe you've started using your smartphone to open the garage door. Or perhaps you're using it to turn the lights on before you get home.

But have you used your smartphone as a TV remote control? If you haven't and you have an old Android just lying around, you can easily turn it into a universal remote control for your TV, cable box, DVR and other components.

Just download an app like AnyMote Universal Remote + WiFi Smart Home Control. Or, if that's not compatible with your old Android, search the Google Play Store for a FREE app that works with your TV.

Security Camera

Nothing is more precious than your home. It's where you keep an eye on your family and know they're safe.

But what happens when you're not there? You might be on a business trip and you still want to make sure your family and possessions are safe.

Or perhaps your kids are away at college and your spouse and you go on a long-overdue vacation. You have a choice to keep your home safe: You can ask a friend to do it, hire a house sitter, buy a home security system, or set up a FREE home security camera.

Just take your old Android and download a FREE app like IP Webcam. It will turn your old Android into a security camera so you can monitor your house from any internet-connected device.

Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing

Have you heard of BOINC? It's the University of California at Berkeley's ongoing research initiative to find cures for diseases and solutions to seemingly impossible problems, like reliably predicting earthquakes.

UC Berkeley and many other universities use thousands of computers and smartphones to perform incredibly complex computer problems. These problems use loads of computer processing power.

In fact, they use so much processing power that the university is asking for volunteers to share some of theirs. All you have to do is download the free BOINC app (or similar apps).

Then choose the research study you'd like to help with. Keep your old Android plugged in and hooked up to Wi-Fi.

Bonus: Sign up for BOINC here.

Worldwide Webcams

What's your view when you're sitting at your desk? If you're lucky it might be Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Central Park in New York City or the Pacific Ocean from downtown San Diego.

Unfortunately, you're probably staring at your cubicle wall for eight hours a day. That's just life, right?

Well, no matter where you work, you can have an incredible view. Would you rather be at the Eiffel Tower or right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of London?

Whatever you'd like your view to be, you can have it. Just prop up an old Android on your desk. Plug it in and make sure it's connected to Wi-Fi. Then, use your browser to find a live webcam from your favorite vacation destination.

Live Beach Cam

Digital photo frame

It might be a little small, depending on your old phone, but why not convert it into a digital photo frame? All you need is a stand, Wi-Fi and a place to plug it in, and you've got a great way to look at your old photos.

Plus, if you use Google Photos, you can fire up a slideshow from the upper right corner of the app. It will cycle through all your photos (or a folder of selected photos you can set up) and you can relive sweet memories.

One thing you have to do before selling an Android gadget

Your Android gadget stores a lot of personal information. Make sure it's wiped the right way before selling it or giving it away.

Tap or click to find out what you need to do.

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