Making Use of Your Decommissioned Smart Phone

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY

Old smart phones put to good useReal Estate professionals go through technology like bath water. When I was younger, old or outdated things were dismissed as "so 70's" or "so 10 years ago." Today, we often refer to an outdated thing as "so March." I got my first Android-the original Droid- phone in 2009. I later upgraded to a Droid 2. Earlier this year, I moved up to a Galaxy Nexus. Throw in an iPad, a Galaxy Tab and a Kindle with the rest of the hardware and my drawer looks like a mini Star Wars junk yard. 

And most of my old smart phones remained junk until I had to replace my Galaxy Nexus after dropping it and cracking the screen. Verizon couldn't transfer everything to the insurance replacement, and told me that before I scrubbed the memory, I could just upload all my photos to Drop Box via my home WiFi. I couldn't make calls anymore, but the Internet connection still worked wherever there was signal. 

I then had an epiphany. One of the things that spoils us about smart phones is that they are like a mini tablet computer. We can use them for Facebook, Google chat, Netflix, Youtube, and of course browse websites. With all that functionality, why scrap a smart phone just because you can't make a phone call anymore (or can't you? Read on)?

I broke out my old droids and connected to WiFi. I uploaded or updated the following apps:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Netflix
  • Google Talk
  • Google Drive (like Drop Box)
  • Amazon and Amazon MP3 Player
  • Dolphin Mobile browser
  • Youtube
  • Gmail
  • Skype
Smart phones are indeed mini tablets. You can use them via your home Wifi for all social media apps, web browsing, and of course multi media like MP3 music and even video. So you can't make calls. Big deal. I don't make calls every waking hour, but I can remain connected. I can check email. And tweet. And listen to tunes. 
 
And you know what? I CAN make calls too. Just download Skype, buy $10 in phone credits, which is enough call time for a month of Sundays, and yes, you an even make a phone call on a decommissioned smart phone. Now, don't take what I say and drive out to a remote area with just your old smart phone. You have to be connected to a network, typically your home WiFi. 
 
One might ask why bother if you already have your current phone and a tablet.
Good question.
Here's the answer: Why drain your primary device's charge listening to music or using other apps at home? You need the tools fully charged for when you are out in the field.  What about those times when our devices are recharging? Or when we walk upstairs and forget the gizmo on the kitchen counter or in the car? It isn't just an addiction to tech, we could answer client email or put out a fire early. Now you have a solution. Keep your old phone in the bedroom drawer, basement man cave or garage for when you're in a pinch. You can check your email, update Facebook, surf Active Rain or stream old movies. 
 
Or, if you really need to, you can even make a phone call via skype. It sure beats using the old device as a paperweight. 
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Re-Bloggged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Roy Kelley 06/27/2012 06:35 AM
  2. Brad Baylor 06/28/2012 07:18 AM
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Topic:
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Rainer
34,264
Linda DeVlieg
Albuquerque Real Estate
Coldwell Banker Legacy

My old iPhone has become my music central for my home; I have it open to Pandora, turn on my home theatre system to "digital music" and I have wall to wall music for my day throughout my home.  Add in a Jambox bluetooth portable speaker and I have music outside on my patio as well.

 

My old iPad is now my alarm clock; it sits in the stand and I can set my alarm, read Kindle in the middle of the night and it's always there, always ready.

 

 

June 27, 2012 06:34 AM
Ambassador
896,335
Bob Crane
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9663
Woodland Management Service

good advice for all of those devices that have now taken up a whole drawer in my office.

Cheryl, someone on ar wrote an article a few months ago about using rice to absorb the moisture from a phone.

June 27, 2012 06:41 AM
Rainmaker
524,670
Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh
A doctor who makes house calls.
Century 21 New Millennium
When we upgraded our I-phone 3 to the I-phone 4 we gave the old phones to our kids. They can't make calls (without apps and wifi) but they can surf the Internet, download music, play games, etc. Essentially they use them as I-pod touches without us having to spend the extra money to get them I-pods.
June 27, 2012 07:08 AM
Rainer
20,824
Kathy McAlpin
HomeSmart - Arrowhead
Excellent use of the old smart phones! Thanks for the great idea!
June 27, 2012 07:14 AM
Rainmaker
59,464
Muriel Lawty
Keller Williams Seattle Metro West

You can also donate them to various charities.  In the Seattle area our locan Realtor association often collects them (SKAR), or schools will do a charity drive.  

June 27, 2012 08:00 AM
Rainmaker
132,080
Pam Ruckriegel
Negotiating the Best Deal for You!
Louisville Real Estate Pros - 502-435-5524

Or, you can hang onto those old ones like my old Treo and hope you can get some calendaring info off it when you get audited--like I did today!  Buy yay, all my stuff was intact--it's my hubby that's gonna cost us some money!

June 27, 2012 08:31 AM
Rainer
190,655
Debbe Perry
828.439.3084 Morganton/Lake James NC
Real Living Carolina Property
Great ideas! I must admit that I can't wait to be able to phone from a slightly smaller, lighter iPad - oh, wait, I can via Skype until the smaller, lighter thing happens!
June 27, 2012 09:40 AM
Rainer
30,648
Rachel Tipton
Litchfield Real Estate

Great idea, Phil! I am gonna go through the mini-techie graveyard and see what I can do. Also, check out Tango as a new alternative app to Skype...I have not actually tried it yet, but a friend just told me about it...

June 27, 2012 01:25 PM
Rainmaker
40,425
Amy Steele
This is Texas...This is Cities...
Cities Real Estate

Awesome idea! Too bad with my last smart phone I used it for recycle credit towards my new phone!  I'll remember this for next time though. My battery never seems to last all day when I use the phone a lot and I can't be on zero battery at the end of the day because I still have need of it!

June 27, 2012 02:18 PM
Rainmaker
81,053
Misstie Pollard
Answering Northern VA Real Estate Questions.
Realtor and Title Settlement Agent

Phil, great ideas!  I actually connect my old iPhone to speakers at vacant homes during open houses.  Plus I have games uploaded for my client's children.  I tote around 2 old smart phones that are now "iPods".

June 27, 2012 03:37 PM
Rainmaker
398,592
John Cannata
Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance
214-728-0449 http://TexasLoanGuy.com

You mean I shouldnt just throw that old smart phone away??? Good idea about using Skype. I actually would not have thought to use that application.

June 27, 2012 03:41 PM
Rainmaker
647,735
Evelyn Kennedy
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA
Gallagher & Lindsey, Alameda, California

J. Philip:

What a great idea.  Just having a usable phone if your cell goes dead is worth loading skype on it.

June 27, 2012 04:30 PM
Rainmaker
1,238,850
Gene Riemenschneider
Turning Houses into Homes
Home Point Real Estate

Good thinking.  I am ashamed to say it but my kids play with my old Cell Phones.  I have a two year old wandering around with one to his ear.

June 27, 2012 04:56 PM
Rainmaker
533,161
Morgan Evans
LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON
Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Always an excellent source of good information, Phil.  I like playing brick breaker on my down time on my old phones.

June 27, 2012 07:25 PM
Rainer
83,887
Brad Baylor
ERA Coup Agency

Phil - What a great idea!  I've only had my droid since March, but when it's time for an upgrade, I'm going to follow your advice.  Thanks!

June 28, 2012 07:16 AM
Rainmaker
629,608
Stephanie/Bob The Ruiz/Miller Team
The Ocala Dream Team
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty

Hi Phillip, great idea.  Just retired my 2nd Blackberry for a Iphone.  Both BB still work on WiFi!

June 28, 2012 10:45 AM
Rainmaker
262,043
Nick & Trudy Vandekar
Realtors - Selling the Main Line, PA Lic AB067198
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc

JP you are amazing, and you sparked a host of other ideas, I see why Zillow has you on their advisory board. Miss seeing your posts, happy to see you have not forgotten AR entirely.

June 28, 2012 12:59 PM
Ambassador
492,249
Brian Schulman
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552
Coldwell Banker Select Professionals, Lancaster PA

Good suggestion!  I keep my last couple of phones anyway just to have extra database backups.

June 29, 2012 08:26 PM
Rainer
92,954
Lynn Ganster
P.A.
Morris Williams Realty

Love that.....wish I had thought of that myself!  

July 02, 2012 12:04 PM
Rainmaker
494,751
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Real Estate Salesperson
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956

Phil, what great ideas. Thanks for sharing.  If I download and update all of those apps, then my youn grandkids will have another device to play on when the computers and ipads are all in use.

July 09, 2012 09:29 AM
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