By Jack M. Germain
Apr 2, 2020 12:37 PM PT
What do you do with your old Android phones or tablets? That question usually prompts three tired answers. You might trade them in for a new purchase. Or you could resell them on eBay. Probably, though, you will just stuff them in a drawer as emergency backups.
Better options exist, however, that would let you continue to get value from your aging devices. For example, you could download Google maps to create a dedicated in-car GPS navigator, or you could turn them into webcams.
Numerous variations on the webcam theme address almost any modern day surveillance, video or audio application. For instance, you easily could turn your unused Android phone into a weathercam, baby monitor, petcam or nannycam. Streaming images over your home network is a fun project to set up and takes little in the way of extra cost or technical skills.
All you need is an existing WiFi connection. Of course, you can extend the functionality beyond your home or office WiFi range if your mobile phone carrier has a discount plan for adding a second line.
An even better option might be adding a WiFi pack to your primary mobile phone account. Sometimes called a “Jetpack” or “port-a-pack WiFi extender,” such WiFi hot spot packs — about the size of a deck of playing cards — can provide an Internet connection for your dashcam or GPS when you travel.
Read on for some scenarios that will let you put your old phone or tablet to better use than as a dust magnet in a drawer. Keep in mind that some of these examples are better suited for an unused smartphone, while others would work better with the larger viewing screen a tablet provides.
1.Turn an old Android Into a Webcam or Dashcam
Step 1: Establish the retired phone’s network functions.
Open the Settings drawer on the Home page and browse to Wireless and Networks. Then select Turn on WiFi.
The phone will obtain an IP address and connect if it is configured for your home network. If it fails to connect, open WiFi Settings and choose Add WiFi network. Then enter the network details like the network name — called SSID — and password. It’s the same information you use to connect a laptop to the network. Test the connection by browsing to any Web page.
Step 2: Download a webcam app from the Google Play store.
Many of these apps work with a PC Client component that installs the webcam drivers and connects the computer. Other apps have advanced features that let you send audio and images to a cloud storage spot. For starters, check out Pavel Khlebovich’s free IP Webcam, DroidCam Wireless Webcam, USB Camera and IP WebCam – Acid.
Click on the install button and allow the app to install to your device. Click the Setup option if required or press Start Server or similar option within the app. The camera video image will