Some folks keep old smartphones in a drawer. Others turn them into artwork. But with most phones only designed to be used for a few years, an awful lot of them eventually end up as e-waste, causing environmental and health issues.

Earlier this year Samsung revealed another option that could breathe new life into old Samsung Galaxy smartphones. Called Samsung Galaxy Upcycling at Home, the idea is to find new uses for old phones. Just because they no longer meet your phone needs doesn’t mean they couldn’t make good smart home gadgets, for example.

Now Samsung says its Upcycling at Home service is live as a public beta for users in the US, UK, and Korea.

Upcycling at Home makes use of your phone’s hardware including the mic, light sensor, and touchscreen display. This lets your phone do things like:

  • Act as a light sensor to automatically turn on connected lights or a smart TV when it gets darker than a certain level.
  • Send an alert to your phone when certain sounds are detected, such as knocks at the door, babies crying, dogs barking, or cat meowing. You can even listen to a recording of the sound on your phone.

To use the new service you’ll need to open the SmartThings app on your Samsung Galaxy phone and use the SmartThings Labs feature.

While the idea is to give new life to old phones, they can’t be too old. Right now Samsung says Upcycling at Home is compatible with Galaxy S, Note, and Z smartphones released in 2018 or later running Android 9 or newer.

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  1. I couldn’t agree more with the other two comments (as of posting time), Making Android 9 a requirement makes this a completely hollow gesture and yet again points out the glaring problem of updates for Android. If they’re going to make a requirement like this, then at least open up bootloaders so that people can get an updated OS on their older tech and make it more useful again. That’s what we really need to see happen. Otherwise this is nothing more than some “green” PR along the lines of Apple saying that they’re being green by not including a charger, while still using a dumb lightning connection.

  2. Spit out my coffee at “can’t be too old – – Android 9 or newer”. My drawer is full of Android 5x devices; not everyone spends on a new device yearly…