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18 great uses for an old Android device

JR Raphael | Jan. 17, 2014
That outdated Android device in your closet still has a lot to offer -- if you know what to do with it. Here are 18 excellent ways to give new life to an old phone or tablet.

2. Turn it into a kitchen command center
Hard to believe, but my ancient Motorola Xoom tablet is now one of the most used devices in my house. That's because I converted it into a multipurpose command center for our kitchen.

Using a third-party launcher -- Nova Launcher, to be specific -- I simplified the tablet's home screen down to a single panel with shortcuts to a handful of relevant apps. I also added in some easy-to-perform gestures, like double-tapping anywhere on the screen to launch Android's Voice Search function for on-the-fly Web searches and other voice-activated commands.

An old Motorola Xoom tablet provides info and entertainment right in my kitchen.

In terms of the apps, Netflix is what gets used the most; between that service and a basic docking stand, the tablet has effectively become our cooking-time television. Pandora and Google Play Music are also favorites for stove-side streaming.

Android-based recipe apps can be useful in this sort of setup, too, as can cloud-connected note-taking services -- like Google Drive, Tasks or Evernote -- for easy viewing of personal recipes or always-synced shopping lists that your family maintains from multiple devices. A Google Calendar shortcut or widget can also be convenient, especially if you have a calendar that's shared among multiple family members.

3. Use it as a digital photo frame
Snag an inexpensive stand, plug your device in, and turn it into a snazzy cloud-connected photo frame for your home.

The Dayframe app pulls in an ever-changing stream of images from your social media accounts.

The only program you need is a free app called Dayframe: It connects to your accounts on multiple services, including Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Flickr and Twitter, and cycles through an always-fresh stream of personal photos. You can also have it include public pictures related to your interests, if you prefer.

Want to make your photo frame even more impressive? With an optional $3 Prime upgrade, Dayframe allows you to set up custom image playlists that can automatically turn on and off at specific times during the day.

4. Make it your live window into the world
Don't have the greatest view from your desk? Let your old Android phone or tablet be your window to wild and exciting locales. To get started, grab the free EarthCam Webcams app from the Google Play Store.

It'll give you one-touch access to live streaming cameras around the world, ranging from the famous Abbey Road crossing in London to New Orleans' Bourbon Street and New York City's Times Square. Load up the view you like, tap the icon to go full-screen, and gaze the day away.


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