8 Things to Do with an Old Android Tablet

1st Generation Nexus 7 tablet
Google Inc.

So, you got an Android tablet a few years back. It was great. You used it a lot, but now you just got a shiny new Android tablet, and that old one is no longer as cool or as useful. What do you do now? You can't just throw away that old tablet. Well, you could, but it would be wasteful. At the same time, you're really not going to get a lot of value back if you tried to sell it. How do you handle it? The easiest way to handle a thicker and heavier tablet with a shorter battery life is to mount it somewhere. Here are some suggestions:

These suggestions should apply no matter who made your Android device: Samsung, Google, Xiaomi, LG, etc.

1. Make an Android Alarm Clock

Alarmy Alarm Clock for Android

Probably the first thing anyone thinks about with old tablets is putting them in the bedroom and converting them to an alarm clock. It's practical. You can have a very large time display with the weather, and there are a ton of alarm clock apps and websites you could use if you don't want to go with the basic app that came with your device. Android alarms are smart, too, so you could set it to wake you up on workdays and let you sleep in on weekends. I use my phone in its charging cradle for the task right now, so why not move the charging cradle near the door and put the alarm in tablet form.

While you're at it, you could install weather alert apps to make sure you do wake up if there's an emergency. This may not be important in your region, but as someone in tornado alley who doesn't always hear the outdoor weather sirens, I make sure I've got a weather radio of some sort at all times.

2. Make an Interactive Calendar and To Do List

Google Calendar for Android

You could put your old tablet in the living room and use it as a family calendar or a to-do list. Google Calendar could be displayed or another calendaring or task management app. You've got your phone or your replacement tablet for checking your agenda on the go, but sometimes it's nice to have that info displayed in the living room. Or else you could use that living room display space for our third suggestion.

3. Make a Digital Photo Frame

Fotoo for Android

There's no need to purchase one separately. Your Android tablet would work great as a digital photo frame. Set it to display a slideshow from Google Photos or go to Flickr or another photo sharing service and display those photos wherever you'd like. Apps like Fotoo can simplify the process, and use pictures directly on the tablet. You could also load up your old tablet with photos and give it to a less techno-savvy loved one as a present. In a pinch, it also works great as an entertaining mirror if your tablet has a front-facing camera.

4. Android Kitchen Help

AllRecipes for Android

Mount your old tablet in your kitchen, and you can use apps like AllRecipes or Epicurious to help you find recipes while you cook. If you already know your recipe or you're busy cleaning up, use it to entertain yourself with movies while you load the dishwasher. You can also stream radio from apps like Pandora, Google Music, or Slacker Radio. Radio apps work in the background, even on most older model tablets, so you can still look up that pecan pie recipe while dancing to your favorite tunes.

5. Control Home Automation

Logitech Harmony remote for Android

Android has been doing a lot of work on home automation, and you can take advantage of one of many apps to automate your lights, thermostat, and other devices. Why not have a central hub where you can control your home without having to find your phone or other devices. Some older tablets even come with a built-in infrared blaster, so you can control your TV and other devices. If not, you could use something like a Peel Universal Controller to add that functionality. Shop around to see if you can find one on sale or used.

6. Universal Streaming Remote

Multimedia streaming remotes for Android

On a related note, many of your favorite streaming devices and apps come with a companion app that lets you control them from an Android or iOS device. You can always re-purpose your tablet as a universal remote that(hopefully) won't get lost in the couch cushions.

With an app-based tablet remote, you have a single remote for all your streaming devices, and the controls are generally more flexible and offer more options than a traditional remote. Plus, you can control your media from any room because most of these remotes work via WiFi instead of old fashioned IR beams.

You can find remote apps for Roku, Amazon FireTV, Kodi, and more universal options all on the Play Store.

7. Dedicated eBook Reader

Kindle Reader for Android

An aging Android tablet can make for a fantastic eBook reader, and it doesn't require much setup at all to make the switch. Most eBook readers today are actually based on Android, and the eBook reader apps that power them are freely available on the Play Store.

Even though your tablet might be slowing down on the latest games, it's still has plenty of power for books. You can download your favorite eBook reader and even set up the tablet to launch that app by default. From there, you can start downloading and reading all you want.

8. Donate or Recycle It

Donate your device to save the rainforest

You don't necessarily need to keep your tablet to do something useful with it. Depending on the connectivity that it supports(WiFi only/cell service), you can donate your device to a worthy cause. Charities like Cell Phones For Soldiers, Rainforest Connection, and Medic Mobile can put your tablet to work again, doing some good.

Sometimes, though, the tablet is just too old or doesn't really work well. In those cases, you can always recycle your tablet the right way. The EPA offers a list of locations where you can drop off electronics for recycling. Never throw a phone or tablet in the trash. They're loaded with chemicals that harm the environment.

Android Tablet Mounting Tips

If you've got a cradle for your tablet, this is pretty simple. Just put your tablet in the cradle and set it on a shelf. Sometimes you can also pick up a cheap cradle for your now obsolete device. If that isn't going to work, you can use the same mounting hardware you'd use for displaying collectible plates. Just make sure there's room to plug your device into your charger from whatever spot you use.