Samsung has announced that it is ramping up its ‘Upcycling’ efforts going forward, and will do so by rolling out a software update that gives a fresh lease of life to the old Galaxy smartphone lying unused in your drawer for months, or maybe even years. What this essentially means is that as part of its sustainability efforts, Samsung will offer a programme called ‘Upcycling at Home’. Under this, should you have an old Galaxy smartphone at home that you’ve discontinued using because it’s too old to be smooth, fast and regular with software updates, Samsung wants to push a software update to it that can lend very specific IoT features to these devices.
These updates can turn the Galaxy phones into devices like a smart fire alarm, smart baby monitor, a smart home security beacon, a long-range all-purpose remote, and so on. The logic is that all smartphones have an array of sensors, actuators and network connectivity wiring. When a smartphone is typically discontinued from use, it is generally done so because its processor is no longer fast enough, or its battery has died down. However, these sensors, actuators and network circuitry generally remain fine. Tuning it for use cases such as a smart fire alarm will, for instance, limit its firmware to only work like a fire alarm. Hence, only its sensors and network circuitry are being used, while putting menial load on its existing processor.
As of now, it is not clear as to when might this programme actually start, and how these software updates will be released. It is also not clear as to which older Galaxy smartphones will be eligible for the Upcycling at Home programme, but given that this has been announced already, expect further announcements from Samsung in the months to come.