The fate awaiting most old smartphones is usually pretty uninspiring: You can— or just give them away to family or friends. Samsung, however, is pushing to bring a fourth option into the mainstream — you can upcycle them.
Starting today, Samsung announced it is expanding its Galaxy upcycling program to let Galaxy owners convert their old phones into smart home devices on the company’s SmartThings platform. The Galaxy Upcycling at Home program was first announced in January at CES, but today beta service rolls out to the US, UK and Korea.
That means old Samsung smartphones could now find a second life as a child monitor, a bark detector or even a light meter that turns on the lights if a room gets too dark.
“Smart home devices are a fast-growing trend for consumer electronics, and we believe that Galaxy devices currently not in use can play an important role in turning every home into a smart home,” said Samsung VP Jaeyeon Jung in the company’s press release.
But listening all day for babies crying and dogs barking — or keeping an electronic eye on the ambient light level 24/7 — could be a serious strain on a device’s battery. For that, Samsung says it’s tweaked the battery optimization settings to minimize battery usage.
Upcycling retired Android devices (Samsung or otherwise)and Samsung’s program isn’t the only . Samsung’s Upcycling at Home does, however, seek to capitalize on the burgeoning smart home market and — if nothing else — introduce consumers to the concept of upcycling rather than selling or trading-in old phones.