Samsung is helping to keep some of its old phones from the bin with a new feature that lets Samsung S, Galaxy Note and Z series devices from 2018 and on became smart home controllers. Tapping into SmartThings Lab, people can transform an old phone into a device that can turn on lights if it's too dark in a room, or even record a sound like a dog barking and then send that recording to a user's new smartphone.
Called Galaxy Upcyclng at Home, the new service is in beta tests now in the U.S., UK and Korea. And all that's required to get started is a software upgrade. That update then activates features already in the phones including a sound and light-control ability.
You can turn lights on automatically through a light sensor activated by upgrading to the new Upcycling at Home featureSamsung
The update also adjusts settings in the devices related to the battery, so that use is minimized allowing the device to run longer.
Samsung SmartThing Labs is an early playground for features that the company is testing before making them standard on their devices. Recent rollouts have included the ability to turn their smartphones in a universal remote. And you can access to SmartThings Lab by:
- Opening the SmartThings app for Android
- Tapping on the menu bar
- Tapping on SmartApps
- Tapping on the More menu and select SmartThings Labs
Working over the SmartThings network, the newly updated phone will be able to read the light in a room where it's placed. If the brightness starts to dip, as it gets darker outside for example, it can turn on a TV or lights — or both — as long as those devices are connected to SmartThings as well,Samsung's own smart home network.
The new feature will also automatically record a short sound clip if it detects a baby crying, dog barking and moreSamsung
As a sound sensor, the device will detect a baby crying, dog barking, cat meowing or someone knocking. That trigger will launch a 10-second recording to be captured, and automatically sent to the user's existing smartphone.
The new feature will only work with select Samsung smartphones for now, including the S9, Note 9 and the Z series after 2018 and on. And these devices must be running Android 9 or above. But Samsung added that they plan to include more devices in the Galaxy Upcycling program in the future.