Downloadable apps can turn that old smartphone into a handy remote for your computer, media player, or TV. If you have a Google TV device, the Google TV remote app has a mousepad, arrows, and a range of buttons, while the Remote app for iPhones lets you control your Apple TV, and the keyboard comes especially handy when you need to type. To control your TV, cable box, stereo, or Blu-ray player, the Griffin Beacon ($70) is an infrared blaster that turns your smartphone into universal remote by translating actions from your phone to IR signals that other devices can understand.
Touchpad and Keyboard Extension
The iPhone’s glass display can make one smooth trackpad to control your computer via Wi-Fi, with apps like TouchPad ($5). You can also extend your keyboard functions with companions such as NumPad ($4); while for Android, RemoteDroid acts as a touchscreen mouse control with onscreen mouse buttons. Each option will also require you to download a separate remote app on your computer, and RemoteDroid is compatible with PCs and Macs.
Jailbreak and Experiment
Since your old phone is now probably out of warranty, you don’t have to worry about tinkering with it anymore. Be brave and experiment with jailbreaking your iPhone and try cool apps that you can’t find in the App Store. If you’re on Android, you can have a go at installing a new ROM (modified versions of Android), whether it’s a new version of the OS, or a ROM that adds new features; or perhaps you just want to speed things up a bit by removing the manufacturer and carrier bloatware that comes preinstalled. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can also install Android on an old iPhone.
Fancy Desk and Alarm Clock