windows phone, mango, wp7

9 Ways To Reuse Your Old Windows Phone 7 Now That You’ve Got Windows Phone 8

With the recent launch of the iPhone 6, there have been several articles on how you can continue to use your old iPhone if/when you upgrade,  including this one from Business Insider.

So why am I referencing an article about how you can reuse your  old iPhone, when the title of this post is how you can reuse your old Windows Phone 7? Because all of them apply to Windows Phone 7 and there are plenty of apps that still support WP7. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Extra (local/on-prem) storage (the Samsung Focus has 8GB)
  2. Music player –  TuneIn Radio 
  3. Fitness/sports tracker – Endomondo
  4. Entertain kids  – Mou + other kid-friendly games for WP7
  5. Ultimate travel camera – although there are no lense hardware accessories that I’m aware of, there are plenty of tripods . In any case you can use it as a spare camera, if not the “ultimate”.
  6. Baby Monitor (note: you can’t use the phone as the camera/mic – that has to be a Windows 7 or Vista PC)
  7. Security Camera – Gotya
  8. Party stereo – connect it to wired (via the 3.5mm audio/headphone jack) or bluetooth speakers
  9. Watch Netflix

There are still 8-10 million WP7 devices in active use. Assuming that half that number have already been retired,  that makes a grand total of  12-15  million WP7 devices that can still be put to good use even when all current active users move on (WP7 devices are not upgradeable to WP8). And with Microsoft ending support for WP7 on October 14th, the retirement rate might accelerate, making these use cases all the more real.  Please sound off below if you have other ideas. Happy reusing!

nokia lumia 800, windows phone 7

In praise of older smartphones – unlike Skype, Gotya continues to support Windows Phone 7

Microsoft recently announced that Windows Phone 7 users will no longer be able to use Skype  “within the next few weeks”.  Not just discontinuing updates, bug fixes, or support, but terminating use altogether – not allowing sign-ins from Windows Phone 7 devices.

According to data from AdDuplex published on WMPoweruser, there are still 8-10 million active Windows Phone 7 users out there.

In contrast to the Skype decision, we here at Gotya are all about supporting older smartphones by enabling consumers to turn them into connected motion detection cameras for a near-free, portable DIY security and surveillance system.

Gotya supports and will continue to support Windows Phone 7. If you’re a WP7 user or  if you have upgraded to WP 8/8.1 and have your old WP7 device (like a Lumia 800, the first-ever WP7 Nokia Lumia from November, 2011)  lying around doing nothing, turn it into a near-free motion detection camera with remote snapshots and alerts with Gotya. And, you can use your current WP8/8.1 device as a remote control for your Gotya WP7 motion detection camera!

WP7 users and device owners, we got your back.

lumia 900 windows phone

7 Things You Can Do With Your Old Smartphone

Consumers have several options for what to do with their old phone when they upgrade to a new one,  something that is happening more often than ever with programs like T-Mobile JUMP!  that encourages customers to upgrade their smartphone as often as every six months with a credit for up to half of the old phone’s original cost.  The other big mobile operators in the U.S. have similar programs having followed T-Mobile’s lead.

  1. Sell it to an end user consumer on EbaySwappa, or other used phone websites/marketplaces. If your phone is still in good condition,  fully functional with a clean ESN and ready for activation you can get a decent price. For a Nokia Lumia 900, if your phone meets all their selling criteria, the avg selling price on Swappa for June is listed at $55. If your phone is damaged or broken, you can try and salvage something by selling it on the Swappa Boneyard.
  2. Sell it to a used phone dealer/business. Trade it in at a mobile operator store or operator website  for a promotion card good for buying more stuff from the operator,  or get a credit to your mobile phone bill. Or sell it to Gazelle. You’re going to get a lot less money this way. See the screenshots below.
  3. Pass it on to a (junior) family member
  4. Destroy  it with a hammer or back over it with a car (or whatever your preferred demolition method) so that it’s unusable/won’t power on, and then take it to an electronics recycler. It’s better to destroy it before recycling to ensure that your personal data on the device won’t fall into the wrong hands.
  5. Throw it in the trash. But that wouldn’t be very environmentally friendly now would it.
  6. Put it in a drawer and forget about it.
  7. Extend its useful life with a utility/tools type app, such as a security camera, music player, or a flashlight.

With options 1-2 there is the risk of not properly wiping your phone (specifically, doing a factory reset which you would think would be enough but isn’t – on Android devices, you also need to turn on encryption) and thus leaving your data (pictures, emails, text messages, address book, and so on) vulnerable to hacking.  With option 2. there is also the question of how much money you’ll get. In the case of the Lumia 900 according to the AT&T Device Trade-In Appraisal tool, the absolute most it’s worth in good/normal use condition is $10 in the form of store or website credit. At Verizon, their maximum price is $11.

used smartphone, lumia 900

Used Lumia 900 maximum price AT&T will pay

At Gazelle, it’s worth $0 with a cracked screen (as shown in the featured image at the top of this blog post). On the plus side, they do provide a link to recycling resources.

Lumia, Windows Phone, motion detection camera

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen worth nothing to Gazelle

 

If you’re not comfortable with the data vulnerability issue or can’t get the price you want via 1. or 2. and don’t have a suitable family member to give your old phone to, option 7. is not a bad one. Certainly better than 4., 5., or  6., one would think.  Especially if it’s got a cracked screen, a not uncommon ailment of used phones.

See the cracked-screen Lumia 900 reborn as a Gotya security camera! Even though the screen is cracked, it functions perfectly well as a motion detection camera.

motion detection camera, lumia 900, windows phone

Lumia 900 w/cracked screen gets new lease on life as a motion detection camera

If you’ve recently upgraded your phone, let us know in the comments what you’ve done or plan to do with your old one.

Get Your Own Barking Watchdog While You’re Away On Vacation

Summer vacation season is in full swing and lots of people will be away from their homes at their favorite vacation spots. Here in the U.S. this 4th of July weekend, the AAA estimates more than 41 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more.

People away from their homes on vacation can get peace of mind by using a home monitoring/surveillance system app on the smartphones and tablets they have with them  to see what’s happening at their homes, get photo or video records of movement, and get alerts when motion is detected so they can respond accordingly.

Gotya is a low-cost way to monitor your house or apartment while you’re away enjoying your vacation and to automatically take pictures of moving objects. Set up Gotya cameras at the points of entry or approach to your home – pathways, doorways, gates, and windows  – and if anything moves in those areas,  Gotya will automatically take pictures and send you email, picture, and sound alerts so you always know what’s going on.

You can set your Gotya camera to play an alert sound as a warning to trespassers or potential  intruders that they’re being watched. Crank up the volume on your device to full blast or even hook it up to external speakers to blast the Gotya warning sound whenever they move to make them think twice! This is the next best thing to having a barking watchdog dog at your place while you’re away!

motion detection camera

Turn on alert sound to warn potential intruders

 

In addition to the Gotya alert sound, you can also fire the camera’s flash as a visual warning to potential intruders. When something moves, Gotya fires the camera’s flash, blasts the alert sound,  takes a picture, and sends you an alert. With Gotya taking multiple pictures per second, the intruder will see a series of flashes and hear a repeating alarm sound.  With today’s bright LED and super bright Xenon flash on devices like the Nokia Lumia, it’s sure to catch the interloper’s eye, make them nervous, and think seriously about leaving, fast.  It’s like having a Cujo-like dog with flashing eyes watching your home while you’re away!

motion detection camera

Turn on Flash to fire as a warning when motion is detected

 

motion detection camera

Lumia 822 Gotya camera watching front pathway with Flash set to on

 

motion detection camera

This is what it looks like to somebody moving in front of the camera

 

Let us know in the comments how you’re using Gotya to watch your home while you’re away on vacation. Have a good one!

Featured image courtesy of http://blog.ricardoarturocabral.com/

spycam

Gotya ups its spy camera game

Gotya has always been able to be used as a spy or hidden camera (“spycam”) as explained in this initial post on the subject. With the latest release of Gotya for Android and Windows Phone, we’ve taken Gotya’s spycam capabilities to the next level by adding two new features:

1) Support for front facing (FF) camera

You can now select either the rear facing or front facing camera from the camera main menu as shown below.

front facing motion detection camera

Tap to select rear of front facing camera

2) Fake or black/blank screen savers with optional lock code

You can select either black/blank (black/dark screen that makes the device appear to be turned off) or fake (fake home screen), both of which hide the fact that the Gotya motion detection camera app is running. You can use the optional lock code to protect the device if someone should tap on the screen.

spy camera, motion detection camera, hidden camera

Set fake or black screen saver and set optional lock code

 

Once you’ve selected which camera and screen saver you want, position the camera where you want it, start the camera locally and then tap “Dim” to activate the screen saver.

spy camera, hidden camera, motion detection camera

Tap the dim button locally on the camera menu after starting camera to launch screensaver

 

Or, you can position the camera and then start the camera with the Gotya remote controller – the camera will automatically launch the screen saver when you do it this way.

This is what the fake screen saver looks like on an Android device (Nexus 7 in this case)

spycam, spy camera, hidden camera, motion detection camera

Fake home screen screen saver for spycam use on Android device

 

This is what it looks like (see below)  in the wild, with the fake screen saver above running on the Nexus 7  – no one is going to know that a motion detection camera is watching and taking pictures of them.

spy camera, hidden camera, spycam, motion detection camera

Gotya motion detection camera running in spycam mode with front facing camera and fake screen saver on Nexus 7

 

The picture below shows a similar setup to the one above, but this time with a Lumia 920 Windows Phone with the blank screen saver selected. It too is detecting motion and taking pictures and nobody is going to know. Which is exactly what a spycam is for.

 

spycam, spy camera, hidden camera, motion detection camera

Gotya motion detection camera running in spycam mode with front facing camera and blank/black/dark screen saver on Lumia 920

 

Download Gotya for Android or Gotya for Windows Phone today and start having fun (or learning stuff) with your new spycam!

Note: spycam feature image courtesy of http://www.intelspy.com/

No WiFi? No problem! Detect motion and capture pictures anyway!

Video surveillance cameras from DropcamHomeMonitor, and others don’t work without a WiFi connection. This is because these devices have no ability to store media (video or pictures) locally to the device.

This means that if a bad guy intruder unplugs or smashes your WiFi router, or if your WiFi connection drops for any other reason (power outage, network outage, WiFi router failure), and you’re using either of those two apps above, then your video camera will no longer be able to record, and anything that happens after that is “off the record”.

Gotya, on the other hand, works without WiFi in three different ways:

1) When you set Gotya camera to save images to local. No network connection of any kind is required to detect motion, automatically take pictures, and save them locally to the device (pictures are saved to the Gotya album on Android, Saved Pictures album on Windows Phone,  and Gallery on Symbian).

motion detector, motion detection camera app

Gotya for Android – camera settings

Note: You can also set Android to auto-backup your pictures to Google+,  and Windows Phone and Symbian  to OneDrive. So even if you’re saving Gotya pictures locally, you can take advantage of these cloud services to have an automatic backup of all your Gotya pictures. This of course requires a network connection.

2) If the smartphone or tablet you’re using as the Gotya camera has a SIM card with cellular data service, then it will revert to cellular data (2G/3G/4G) if the WiFi connection drops.

3) If the smartphone or tablet you’re using as the Gotya camera has no SIM card or cellular data service and is WiFi only and you’ve got the camera set to save images to the Gotya Cloud, when the WiFi connection drops, Gotya automatically switches to saves pictures locally to the device ,and then as soon as the WiFi connection is restored, automatically uploads those pictures to the Gotya Cloud. The sequence of three pictures below illustrates this scenario. Note the network connection status in the lower right hand corner of the screen. The red dot at top center of the screen indicates motion detection is active.

motion detector, motion detection camera, motion detection app

WiFi connected, pictures auto-uploaded to Gotya Cloud (normal operation).

 

motion detection camera, motion detector, motion detection app

WiFi connection drops, Gotya automatically switches to save pictures locally.

motion detection app, motion detector, motion detection camera

WiFi connection restored, Gotya now automatically uploads pictures that were saved locally, to the Gotya cloud

 

So whether you have no network connection, a slow network connection, or a high-speed WiFi connection, Gotya works in all of those scenarios. Try it for yourself.

Android

Gotya Security Camera now available for Android

Gotya Security Camera is now available in beta for Android 2.3 and later (up to and including KitKat 4.4) smartphones and tablets. This means if you have any older Android devices sitting around gathering dust, you can now put them back to work for you as motion detection cameras and control them with the Android device you’re using today. The app is free, ad-free, and new users get a free 60 day full-feature trial of the Gotya Cloud Service for instant alerts, camera remote control, and cloud picture backup.

The new release also packs three new features that we’ve prioritized based on user feedback:

1) Front facing camera support – you can now select either rear/main camera or front facing camera as the motion detection camera

2) Fake or black screen saver with optional lock code – use this to put the smartphone or  tablet in spycam mode – it looks like it’s either idle on the Android home screen (with the fake screen option) or completely powered off (with the black screen option) even though the Gotya motion detection camera is running,  and you can protect it with a 4-digit lock code.  Use this to deploy your Gotya cameras as spycams and automatically take pictures of anything that moves in front of the camera and get instant alerts. You can also take pictures whenever you want using the instant snapshot feature. All without anyone knowing that a motion detection camera is watching them.

3) Improved camera remote controller menu with larger icons for easier use.

You can download Gotya for Android on Google Play now.