Thou art mine Desire no longer
August 9, 2012 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Spare Android phone, now what?

I recently changed from my HTC Desire (the first version, not the HD or S or what-have-you) to the LG Optimus 4X HD, but didn't trade-in the old phone.

What can I do with the old phone (which will not have 3G access)?

Relevant details:
- No 3G data plan
- Battery is so-so; lasts me a work day with moderate usage
- Runs Cyanogenmod 7.2

Bonus question: killer apps for the new phone?
posted by titantoppler to Technology (16 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I use my old android phones as Wifi/Bluetooth remote controls for home theater.
posted by jozxyqk at 7:32 AM on August 9, 2012

Stick it next to the door and look at the weather before you leave each day. Widget: AIX. App: Weather Underground.

Use it as an IP webcam. App: lots.
posted by devnull at 7:37 AM on August 9, 2012

I use my Droid Incredible as a dedicated alarm clock. Running Gentle Alarm, plugged in so battery isn't an issue. I removed all email notifications and such so that is kept on my phone only.

The killer feature for me - I took apart some Sony over the ear headphones, and I keep the speakers tucked underneath my pillow (recently moved them under my sheets, even better) and plugged into my alarm clock phone. I use a Tempurpedic pillow, so don't even feel the headphones. I can run Spotify on Radio mode, and I have music to fall asleep to that won't disturb my wife.

I looked far and wide for a cooler use, but this is highly useful and easier than using my actual phone.
posted by shinynewnick at 7:42 AM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh, and Tasker to automate everything by time if you want. I used it a lot when I used my actual phone for my alarm (turn on Night Mode screen when plugged in, after 10 pm, phone on its left side). Now that I have the Incredible Alarm Clock, not needed as much.
posted by shinynewnick at 7:46 AM on August 9, 2012

Last post! Tasker (and many other apps) can read the weather out loud in the morning.
posted by shinynewnick at 7:48 AM on August 9, 2012

Oh and Llama is like Tasker but easier to use.
posted by devnull at 7:48 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I keep my old one in my car as a dedicated audio player. Filled up a micro sd card with music and just have a media player app installed on it. You could also use it to download podcasts when you have WiFi access and listen to them offline later.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:58 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am in the exact same situation, and have loaded the phone with a couple of free GPS apps to allow me to use the phone as a satnav (I have an in-car mount for it already):
Co-pilot GPS lets you download 1 free map (additional maps cost money).
Navfree is the best completely free OpenStreetmap-based GPS app I've found so far.

I use a USB adaptor in the cigarette lighter socket to keep the Desire charged on long journeys.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 8:03 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

At this point I should like to clarify that:

I'm not really interested in playing media since I already have an iPod Touch that I use heavily, and which can hook up to the car stereo (sorry, burnmp3s)

I'm also looking for a price tag of $0 - that is, it can't cost me anything more, so buying apps is out of the question

I'm open to hacking it (see: Cyanogenmod 7.2), but there ought to be some real-world benefit to it, rather than just for nerd points
posted by titantoppler at 8:04 AM on August 9, 2012

Use it to control your Lego Mindstorms system.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:05 AM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

eBay. I sell all my old gadgets there (I usually try to sell them before all the resale value is gone - so I sell laptops 2-3 months before the Applecare runs out, etc) and typically recoup between 50-75% of the purchase price or average value.

If the phone is hacked, they typically sell for more on ebay...but I don't like selling things like that for a variety of reasons. I always very carefully wipe them and restore them to factory settings.

Use your spoils to buy killer apps at the app store or anything else.
posted by arnicae at 8:49 AM on August 9, 2012

I recently got a Galaxy SIII to replace my Droid Incredible.

I've kept using my old phone as a music player and GPS tracker while I run. It's a little less bulky while running, and I'm not overly concerned about destroying the thing.

Other times, it doubles as a remote control.

I just wish there was a good dock for the thing so I could use it as an alarm clock.
posted by schmod at 8:49 AM on August 9, 2012

My last phone (Evo 4G/HTC Supersonic, roughly equivalent to the first Droid) now serves as a superb alarm clock*. I'm still looking for the right "base-station" with speakers to replace, completely, my clock-radio that, ahem, assists, my phone, but I look forward to using my it as a home music player in my bedroom. It also syncs with Google Listen (podcast player) so I can listen to those when cleaning at home. something I do once every 10 years or so. Finally, I intend to use it as a sleep monitor, once I get around to acquiring the right peripherals.

I'm sure that having a nice little spare pocket computer will pay off more than getting a few bucks online. If my new phone breaks, I can always drop the SIM card into the old one while the replacement process goes through-- that alone was reason to pass up the $70 or so that Sprint offered me for it.

* Gentle Alarm, I'm pretty sure-- whatever it is, it makes me do a quick math captcha to wake up, and that's good, because I can defeat a lot of regular alarms without actually waking.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:27 AM on August 9, 2012

I'm also looking for a price tag of $0 - that is, it can't cost me anything more, so buying apps is out of the question

Out of the question? Why?

So we can't name an incredible app for your phone that costs two bucks, and you will use and gain utility from every single day?
posted by devnull at 9:53 AM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have two old Android phones. At various times, both have been loaned to my now five-year-old son for games and watching videos on. Battery life sucks on those particular phones, so this isn't more than a short-term idea because he'll never remember to plug it in to charge and we won't always be able to find it to do it ourselves. Plus, the screens are okay for a kid, but not great for a kid. They really need something bigger -- and want something bigger when they're used to using laptops or iPads.

I've also used the spare phone to install a light-saber app! You get the famous light-saber sounds, the camera flash strobes and blooms as your arm slashes and cuts, and there's even Star Wars theme music. With each of us armed with a phone and an app, we have led epic battles throughout the house and have destroyed the Death Star and cut Darth Maul in half many times.

I have also on occasion thrown one into a backpack when hiking, after turning on GPS and My Tracks. It'll track distance, speed, location, and altitude and save the data to a file -- even without any kind of data access. It's just saving the GPS coordinates, really, and then doing the math. When you get back to Wi-Fi-land, save the map to My Google Maps and the tracked data will lie neatly on Google's Maps. I also did this when house-hunting. I was able to show my wife exactly where I'd been when cruising for "for rent" signs or when keeping realtor appointments. It was a good way to jog my memory when I couldn't always take notes -- "see, the grocery store is there and the house is there" or "the school is far enough away that pick-up and drop-off traffic shouldn't annoy us." The advantage of using a second phone to track location in these ways is that it saves the battery of your real, everyday phone, and reduces its sluggishness. I do use car chargers but not all the cars have two electric or cigarette lighter plugs to attach two devices.

I've also simply used one of the spare phones to charge a spare battery, since it is the same model as the phone I use everyday. (The old phone was replaced, out of warranty, because the camera didn't work and my wife hated not being able to shoot pictures whenever she liked.) I keep the battery charged then pop it out and take it along when I travel or when I know I have a 20-hour day ahead of me.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:16 AM on August 9, 2012

Thanks for the recommendations so far, keep them coming!

@devnull - Keeping in mind that this is just for kicks, and not anything serious, I'm not too keen on shelling out even more money on something that may not pan out, that's all. Nonetheless, if there really is a killer app that is well worth the money I'm all ears.
posted by titantoppler at 10:53 PM on August 10, 2012

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