An afterlife for smartphones

Smartphones are clearly becoming a commonplace phenomenon. In the USA, smart-phones now comprise more than 20% of all cellular phones, and this number is expected to rise to more than 40% in a few years.

What’s most interesting about smartphones is that, unlike feature phones, smartphones can have a useful second life.

Feature phones, or regular cellular phones, have little use after their primary usage – sure, you could give it to grandma to use as an emergency phone to make 911 calls (In the USA, even phones without a subscription, are able to make emergency calls to 911), or to a charitable cause such as for ‘abused women in hidden shelters’ to use for communication or sell it for use in 3rd world countries, but that’s still using it primarily a cell phone.

Smartphones, on the other hand, have much more usefulness beyond their initial life. besides using it like a cell phone, one could use smartphones without the expensive 3G/4G cellular service for:

Gaming device. There are tons of games available for smartphones and many of them are free. They can even be downloaded via WiFi or sideloaded and used. With WiFi, one could even play network-based games.
Camera. you can take pretty good quality photos and even upload to a PC via WiFi or Bluetooth.
Compass. Going hiking, camping or backpacking? Here’s a good compass and there’s absolutely no need for service (save your regular cell phone for actual phone calls)
Routing Device. It’s not there today (mobile Hotspots are close), but there is no reason someone couldn’t develop an ultra-portable WiFi router with a micro-USB to Ethernet adapter.
Computing Device. Hmmm, this will seem wierd today, but smartphones have pretty good power (1 GHz is almost the norm nowadays) and memory, and in a few years they will be humming like super computers. I can imagine someone taking used smartphones and creating a computing grid.
Hundreds of other applications. There’s hundreds of other apps that can work in standalone fashion or with a WiFi or Bluetooth application. Calculator and Torch are just a few.

Oh yeah, it’ll be a great paperweight too!

6 thoughts on “An afterlife for smartphones”

  1. Excellent post, I will be checking back regularly to look for updates.

  2. I like your blog theme can you tell me the name of it or where you downloaded it?

  3. Any handset running android is widely considered to be a smartphone. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy models all run Android. And I’ll admit I’m being biased, but I’d recommend a galaxy over an 8530. Blackberry’s just don’t offer the same experience you get on iPhones or android phones which is considered to be amazing by comparison.

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