Samsung Upcycling Program: New Ways to Use Your Old Smartphone
Do you often wonder what to do with your old one after buying a new one? Many people are always in a dilemma, wondering how they can recycle the gadgets. Unfortunately, most of these phones end up in recycling bins, yet they are still in perfect condition and can be used in other ways.
With this realization, Samsung came up with an upcycling program that gives new life to your old phone. Termed the Galaxy Upcycling program, the initiative allows you to upcycle your phone from home.
How Galaxy Upcycling Works
The program helps you transform your Galaxy device into various IoT (Internet of Things) devices through an app called SmartThings. Through a simple software update, you can convert your smartphone into a tool that meets your individual lifestyle needs.
The program provides enhanced light and sound-control features through the repurposing of built-in sensors. The sound sensor mode, for example, accurately distinguishes sound in the everyday environment, and you can choose to save them on your device. For instance, if the old smartphone, through the app, senses a dog barking or a baby crying, it sends an alert to your new phone. You can then listen to the recorded sound through your smartphone. According to Samsung, the sound mode is best used as a baby monitor or pet care solution.
Alternatively, you can use the light sensor mode to convert your old smartphone into a light sensor. In this case, you can detect sunlight or room light levels, triggering the phone to respond in a specific way. For example, you can use it to automatically turn on the lights through the SmartThings app when the room gets darker than the preset light standards.
One outstanding benefit of the SmartThings app is that it helps in battery optimization. For a device to keep detecting sound and light, its battery needs to operate for long periods. This means that it can drain the battery very fast. However, the case is different with the Galaxy Upcycling program. Samsung has made it possible to use the sound or light modes while on battery power by equipping the program with battery optimization solutions. Your phone will use less battery power than it did when you used it for calls and other functions.
Availability of Samsung Upcycling Program
Currently, the upcycling feature is available on all Z, S, and Note Samsung series released from 2018. These must be running on Android 9 and above. The company hopes to support more devices in the future. In terms of country support, the feature is only available in Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
The program makes a very modest starting point, and the company has the potential to do a lot more. This is one effective approach to reducing e-waste by making old devices useful. While the program only uses light sensors and the microphone, the camera is a valuable feature that will make an excellent feature in the future. The company can consider making it possible to convert an old phone into an IP camera for the phone owners to reuse old smartphones. This can happen by using apps like Haven, Alfred, and IP Webcam.
Another area Samsung should consider exploring is end-of-life hardware. By unlocking the bootloaders, users can delete old abandoned Oses and apps and install newer versions. In addition, by running an entire smartphone OS on a single-use device, users can have longer battery life and better performance.