Most Android phones don’t last as long as they should, and while that’s in the process of changing slowly, it doesn’t help the older abandoned devices already out there. Through a new “Galaxy Upcycling” program, Samsung will update older Galaxy phones to give them new features.

During its CES 2021 event this morning, Samsung unveiled new TVs, appliances, and more, but also took a moment to talk about its Galaxy smartphones. The company introduced the “Galaxy Upcycling at Home” program, which offers consumers the ability to repurpose an older Galaxy smartphone to serve a new purpose.

At the event, Samsung announced an update to its Galaxy Upcycling program called Galaxy Upcycling at Home. The new program reimagines the lifecycle of an older Galaxy phone and offers consumers options on how they might be able to repurpose their device to create a variety of convenient IoT tools.

How does this work? Samsung says (via Android Central) that an optional software update will be available for these older devices that will deliver new features to allow them to be used for at-home purposes. In the CES event, Samsung pointed to three use cases.

For one, the phone could be used as a baby monitor. By putting the phone on a charger in the room with a baby, special software could detect a crying baby and send notifications to other devices. Alternatively, Samsung Knox could play a role in making these devices useful for at-home security purposes. Some pet care features were also teased.

Another use case shown below is the ability for the device using the SmartThings app to detect low light and turning on smart lighting within the home.

Samsung didn’t go into detail on what devices are eligible for this or exactly how the software updates will arrive (whether they’ll be system or just apps). In any case, there are some neat ideas here, and extending the useful life of electronics is always a good idea. It does look like this program will start this year, though.

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Ben Schoon

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