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Try these 5 uses for old smartphone

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Friday, Oct. 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know Apple has released two new iPhones. With much less fanfare, new Android and Windows Phone smartphones enter the market regularly.

So you decide it's time to put down your hard-earned money on one of these latest and greatest gadgets. What do you do with your old smartphone? Well, you can always sell it and make some of your money back.

There are other options. A smartphone is basically a portable computer, and you can program it to do plenty of other things.

First, however, you need to turn off cellular data. Otherwise, your phone will drain your battery while trying to find a signal. On an iPhone, go to Settings>>Cellular. For an iPad, it's Settings>>Cellular Data. Turn Cellular Data off.

In Android, swipe down from the top of the screen and look for the Mobile Data icon. You also might have a widget on your home screen.

Otherwise, go to Settings and under Wireless and Network, tap More Settings>>Mobile networks and uncheck Mobile data. The steps could vary by manufacturer, so check your manual if this doesn't work for you.

On a Windows Phone, go to the App list and go to Settings>>Cellular. Turn Data connection to Off. Make sure “For limited Wi-Fi connectivity” is set to “Don't use cellular data.”

Now it's time to turn it into something else. The easiest option is a portable media player.

A media streaming gadget and player

Load it up with your favorite songs, shows or movies and pair it with a good set of earbuds. For a media manager, DoubleTwist is a popular option that works for any gadget.

Your gadget can also use your home Wi-Fi to stream videos or music. Fire up Netflix or Amazon's Music service app and go to town.

If your phone has an HDMI port, it can connect to your HDTV. You can use it as a media-streaming gadget in place of a Roku box or Apple TV.

If your smartphone doesn't have HDMI, it can still be a part of your home theater. There are infrared attachments that turn a smartphone into a powerful universal remote. If you have a newer TV, check to see if the TV manufacturer has a remote control app.

A portable gaming unit

If you have a child or grandchild begging for a Nintendo DS or Sony Vita, your old smartphone can be better. There are hundreds of game apps to entertain them, and many of them are free!

Candy Crush Saga is the current must-play game that has everyone addicted. It would be a good distraction on a long car ride.

A fine GPS

Your smartphone makes a fine GPS with an app like NavFree USA. It downloads maps to use offline and offers free turn-by-turn navigation. Google Maps can also download maps offline.

Kitchen recipe holder

In addition to a co-pilot, your smartphone can be your assistant chef. Load it up with some cooking apps and your favorite recipes. Fire up a recipe site.

An alarm clock

If your gadget doesn't find a home in your kitchen or living room, bring it into the bedroom. Turn it into alarm clock with an app like Alarm Clock Xtreme for Android or iHome+Sleep for iOS.

Email Kim Komando at techcomments@usatoday.com.

 

 
 


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