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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That outdated Android device in your closet still has a lot to offer -- if you know what to do with it.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.

EarthCam lets you load up a view of Niagara Falls — or a slew of other Webcams around the world -- for a break from the mundane.

If you want more views, EarthCam offers package-based upgrades within its app for 99 cents a pop. You can find quite a few mobile-friendly live cameras on the Web, too: Pull up your device's browser and try out the San Diego Zoo Panda Cam, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's underwater cams, or SeaWorld's Penguin Cam for some "aww"-inducing variety.

Last but not least, try searching for traffic cameras in your own area if you want an eye in the sky to help you prepare for your commute. Quality and availability will obviously vary from place to place, but a site called TrafficLand makes it easy to see what's out there near you (and it works fine from a mobile browser -- you'll just need to pinch to zoom into the video box to make it go full-screen).

5. Make it kid-friendly
Your old tablet may seem tired to you, but it's still top-notch technology by toddler standards — so why not turn it into a fun and educational gadget for your kid?

On tablets with Android 4.3 or higher, you can find a native Restricted Profile feature right in the operating system: Just head into the system settings, tap "Users," then tap "Add user or profile." Select the option to add a restricted profile. You'll then be prompted to enable or disable access to all apps installed on the tablet, allowing you to control exactly what programs your little one will and won't be able to use.

Zoodles creates a locked kid-friendly environment on your Android phone or tablet.

For an even more restricted environment -- one that'll work on any phone or tablet running Android 2.2 or higher -- check out the Zoodles Kid Mode app. It gives you a custom kid-friendly interface with a selection of age-appropriate games and activities, and its Child Lock feature keeps kids safely within the app.

The app itself is free, though you do need a premium membership in order to use some of its features, such as a timer mode that automatically limits kids to a set amount of time with the device each day.

6. Turn it into a security camera
Keep an eye on your home, office or kiddos by transforming your device into a Web-connected security camera. Just download the free IP Webcam app and follow its instructions — and, within seconds, you'll be able to peek through your device's lens from any compatible computer browser.


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