The fate awaiting most old smartphones is usually pretty boring: Most people either-- or just give them away to family or friends. Samsung, however, is pushing to make a fourth option more mainstream: you can upcycle them, instead.
The program, which Samsung calls Upcycling at Home, is designed to let Galaxy owners convert their old phones into smart home devices on the company's SmartThings platform -- a baby monitor, for example, or a dog bark detector. First announced in January at CES, Upcycling at Home beta service began rolling out to the US, UK and Korea starting last month.
If you've got an older Samsung Galaxy phone lying around and want to tinker with Upcycling at Home, you'll need the company's SmartThings app installed. From there, you'll find the feature in the Samsung Labs section of the app, where you can experiment with the aforementioned sensors or create another that can trigger a room's lights to turn on when it gets too dark.
"We are rethinking how we use existing resources, and we believe the key to upcycling is to enable solutions that transform old technology into something new by adding value," Samsung VP Sung-Koo Kim said, according to the press release.
"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, also in the release.
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 and prolong the devices' lives.
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.