Any other folks here re-purposing ancient Android devices?

I'm asking because I've got several devices in great condition which have been sitting around here idly for a while...
(Please don't tell me to trash these things - I know how to do that already !!)

The saddest of them is an Impression I10 tablet with version 2.3.1;
I had gotten this way back when I hardly knew anything about Android at all, then found out that even GB apps wouldn't run on it - but it is a gorgeous old thing with lots of ports, etc. - that I cannot find any good way to re-use (except maybe as a BIG paperweight ?!?).
I'm going to see if a really old version of VLC might allow it to display the stream from a wifi cam...for example, but it may not work.

On the opposite end of the size scale are our tiny old LG L38C phones from TF with Android version 2.3.6.
Rugged (but tiny) workhorses - easily rooted, great as MP3 players, and can run a few useful apps (like Localphone) - but not much else as most everything wants newer OS versions.

There was a time when Apkpure listed way old apps - but not anymore it seems.

So this thread is made in hopes of 2 possible directions from other members here, please:
1 - Any highly recommended uses & apps for such super-old OS versions & devices ??

2 - Any site that keeps & shares really old versions of APKs aside of ??

Thanks for any helpful replies !!

In re to #2 I'll hazard a guess you already knew this site but just in case & since others may not.

All I can say is WOW. 2.3.1?!

Now that is ancient. Maybe your local museum will be interested in showcasing such treasures??

I take advantage of visible's swap program. Use a referral and you can swap your old phone for a new zte android 9 phone for $5 which will be a lot more useful for wifi only stuff. If you can I'd use a prepaid card with a low balance, a virtual cc with a limit or a card with a $5 limit in case they try any funny business and charge you extra. Make sure autopay is off too.
Visible | It's Phone Service. In An App.

Personally I'd stay clear of sites other than the main ones like apkmirror. If not on there then probably not worth downloading anyway.

Maybe try it is supposed to be safe and appears on many of the safe apk download site lists (but not a personal recommendation).
See here for example for vlc that works on android 2.2 and up -
Free Download VLC APK v2.0.6 - APK4Fun

A museum ??
What a concept !!
Around here they tend to be all about natural history & aside of that we have trees, rivers & wildlife in abundance.

VLC 2.0.6 - YAY !! Thanks !!!
(I'll find a use yet for that old tablet - it is only a matter of time...)

Thanks for the Visible pointer (I doubt that we'll need to use it).
We barely use our activated phones at all anymore 'cuz we stay home so much & have nicely bigger screens for our PCs - but;
Android does some neat stuff that PCs don't do - like the display for our front door camera that sits on my desk.

Tinkering with older Android devices is amusing to me.
Good thing there were so many $5 & $10 deals on them a while back - they made great MP3 players for us & friends as well as being super for use with the Torque app & wireless OBD readers.
Using MPE via XP I can easily side-load any APK desired - too bad there isn't any really easy way to do the same kinds of stuff under Linux.

Having things like the truly rugged LG Fuel & LG Optimus Dynamic (L38C) has showed me how good & useful Android can be when devices could still be de-bloated via gaining root access;
The wonderfully 'modernized' devices got so much more locked down that even folks who linger at the XDA site have become discouraged sometimes.

Moral of my story here...:
Newer ain't always better !!

More re #2 in OP, I don't know them but asked a young computer/phone savant where the "cool kids" go these days. "These aren't it but they're OK."
If you can deal with Russian

Thanks Again Redrotors !!

I avoided mentioning mobilism because many folks scoff at what it serves.
It is not a site one visits with queries at all as they will get no answers...but it has its uses for certain.

4PDA...bleah - I only speak/read english & BAD english !!!

There was a time when it was possible to get good retail deals like $10 & under for new, packaged Android devices & every so often there is a really good offer for Fire tablets which can be de-amazoned & rooted.

I got my partner a 2019 Fire7 & did that for it;
She practically sleeps with that doggone thing despite having her PC right at hand.
It is now named 'precious' & I've taunted her with maybe becoming what the image below is about...!

She is so well occupied with the tablet that she's not gotten her PC ready for the change from XP to Linux - which I set up for her on a new hard disk WELL over a year ago !!

A bit of perspective to add...
Folks now look at the things I've mentioned here - both the OS versions & devices as 'ancient', so perhaps this is a good time to add mention of some incredibly ancient (in computer time) things for comparison's sake.

Way back in prehistoric times consumers were able to start getting computers.
There were some small ones at first, and then things got a tiny bit more serious.

My entry to this realm was ~1985 with a 2nd hand Radio Shack TRS-80 Model I computer.
It was quite a beauty at the time with 4, 5.25" floppy disk drives, monochrome screen and a 300KB/S acoustic modem.
It had the Z80 CPU (1.77 MHz) and 4K of RAM.

Here is an example with ONLY 2, 5.25" 180KB drives:

After that model had come out in ~1977, that company hurriedly made the Model II - which was a disaster due to its use of 8" floppy disks which were both terrible AND terribly expensive - and then ~1980 they had a big hit with the truly revolutionary...

TRS-80 Model III with 16KB RAM & a 2MHz CPU.
It was an all-in-one desktop model with the KB, screen & 2 floppy drives built in.

And here it is:

Those 'ancient' (pre-PC) computers were 100% text based - but still able to communicate, and...
When I found a local BBS running on a Model III that was a joyous time - being able to connect with other computer users over the (wired) phone lines by simply typing at each other.
Very slowly.

The consumer grade Winchester hard disks came years later;
A 5MB unit cost as much as a car, was terribly delicate, and very heavy.
It was amazing to watch those things start up as it took minutes between hitting the power button & getting the ready light - and their spin-up sounded a bit like starting the engine on a commercial jet - but not as loud.

Please notice that in all of the above there is only mention of Kilobytes and Megabytes - no GIGAbytes whatsoever - and CPUs that only sped along at ~2 MHz.

Now for the bit of perspective I'm trying to put here...
The 'ancient' tablet I've mentioned with its -mere- Android 2.3.1 is only about 1000 times more computer than those mentioned above - and yet in our current world it is simply too old to be bothered with anymore by most folks.

Here is the Impression I10:

By comparison to even that 'truly ancient' Model III, it is actually a super computer that is displayed on a colour touch screen, can connect with other things wirelessly - can be held in just one hand - and has GIGAbytes of everything.

As I see it, to accept the idea of tossing away something like that which SHOULD still be useful - is just a crying shame.

Of course this is what happens with us old folks who were actually there and used that 'ancient' stuff;
It is NOT missed at all - just of historical significance because it is so far distant from what we have & use nowadays.
It may be helpful to realize that our expectations can be a bit unrealistic towards what we MUST have vs. what we think should just be tossed out nowadays.

The TRaSh-80
Talk about a little way back machine memories!

As a kid I crewed (dingy racing) for a guy, IBM'er, who regaled me with all the vacuum tube computer failure stories from when he worked in TX for NASA. "One tube away from disaster" "you don't know how easy you have it"

Sometimes it takes 1000 failures to generate 1 success.

So long as we're bad-mouthing old tech here, around that same time came the COMMODE-64 - which is frequently credited as being the precursor of the Amiga line, and both it and the Amigas still have very active users & communities.

The Z80 based computers I mentioned earlier did not persist because of several reasons:

  • Very few businesses took Radio Shack seriously at all (for valid reasons IMO) ;
  • In general, most businesses were just not ready yet to move into that sort of tech dependency;
  • They also ignored that stuff until a tech giant got into it - the IBM PC family.

The single point of gratitude I suggest aiming at ALL the pre-8086 machines is that their devoted adherents DID bring attention to computers as useful devices which likely helped usher in the era of PCs and Macs being accepted as important business machines able to take the places of adding machines, typewriters, etc...

During most of the decade after the fading away of the Z80 based machines, I was the president (read that 'presider'...) of a flourishing state-wide CoCo group and had the dubious honour of having to present most of the orations & intros at their well attended meetings every month.

The Color Computer (CoCo) was actually a very capable little machine, and wisely used any color TV as a display, though sometimes it needed adapters for the differing TV inputs.
Sales of it existed from 1980 - 1991, a very good, long run.

The CoCo was based upon the Motorola 6809E processor rather than a Zilog Z80 - and in some ways may even be considered the ancestor of the original, genuine Apple line which used the more capable Motorola 68xxx CPUs.

.Also worthy of note is that Radio Shack's TRSDOS (which stands for the Tandy Radio Shack Disk Operating System) pre-dated all personal computer OSes in 1977 (AFAIK) except for the little-known CP/M (1974)

From a historical POV, it seems that if the Tandy/Radio Shack execs had been much more savvy - they'd have spun off a separate computer company with a catchy name & logo (like Apple, for example...) and if that had occurred then their computers would not have attracted the derisive mis-naming of 'trash-80' which tended to keep folks away from their products - even if those same folks desired to try their hands at an affordable computer in those early years of the PC's emergence.

As for me - I am glad to have been involved for so many years with computers as it paved my way into a very enjoyable 20+ year occupation which allowed me to be self-employed and independent.
Being one's own boss is a wonderful sensation even though the buck stops there - for some of us, responsibility is a pleasure even on the poorest of days.

Deliberate misspelling?

You know... like "TRaSh-80". :slight_smile:

Another use for an ancient Android device would be generating (semi-)anonymous gmail/google accounts. (I think)

If you do a factory reset, and then start the new-device setup, it will give you the option to create a new Google account, as an alternative to associating the phone to an existing Google account.

For increased anonymity, make sure there's no sim-card in the phone when you do this (you'd need to be using Wifi in that case).

I'm sorta guessing about this. Seems like you should be able to do this multiple times. Maybe it depends what Android version is on the device.

If you're really paranoid you'd wonder if the device is sending its IMEI to google when it creates the account. You might also wonder if Google (or the NSA) has access to a database of every IMEI you've ever used.

If the device is a tablet or some other device without cellular functionality, I don't think it has an IMEI.

Ummm....thanks - and I'm not quite sure where you're coming from ??

Generally I avoid the big G as much as reasonably possible - and I, personally have no use for adding any account(s) there.

Aside of that, my older un-activated 'toys' do not have or need SIMs, nor do they get used at all for any internet stuff.

Our activated phones stay powered off mostly these days & when they do get used it is for calls or the infrequent texting.
We don't have any desire to use those tiny screens for internet stuff - nor to pay for data.

We do use our PCs & my partner uses her tablet for internet stuff - and we hold no illusions of anything via internet being 'private' or 'secure' on the wide open public network.

So - in light of all that - we avoid contributing to the big data collectors as much as possible & don't worry about things which we cannot change.

My original query here about uses & apps for older devices still stands - and is aimed at things which are smallish in scope, but still useful, like as an MP3 player, for example, as one of mine is & I have no need for another !!

Thanks Again for replying.

I've heard (my first-hand experience is limited) that it can be hard to get a free email account without giving up your phone number (or at least another email address). I think the big three (GMail/Hotmail/Yahoo) all make it rather hard to forgo the phone-number thing, as I understand it.

This is a way to get an email address without giving up a phone number.

Like you, I try to avoid google-stuff, but I have no problem feeding data into the machine if I can ensure it's (relatively) useless data.

To make it (almost?) completely useless, I'd do this with an Android device I picked up at a flea market, using a coffee-shop's free wifi, and then take further precautions when using the Gmail/Google account ("private window" in the browser/computer with a fresh OS install and no personal data/etc...)

And yeah... I have no reason to think this would be useful to you specifically. But maybe useful to someone, and also, just interesting.

OK, now that this has jumped completely off its rails, here is an adjunct to my topic as posted:
My 'play box' is a slightly older PC retired from office usage.
It was an XP box with a 4 core CPU & 8GB RAM since I added some more - not too old IMO, really.

Since my work space is quite tiny, I have it set up on the side & such that the cabling is easy for me to swap around for any PC which may be visiting for service, so right now this box has its own screen, KB & mouse.

This box is what I boot up to side-load APK files & do other things with connected Android devices, usually by way of MPE.

Its (until recently) mounted HDD has XP & some useful tool s/w - but sometime ago I also added the Kingwin KF-255 to it so as to accomodate the other drives that I tend to work on with other OSes to boot into.

That was a sticking point for me because I didn't want the mounted drive running during all the time I use others, so I was constantly having to reach into its guts to unplug it, which was neither the best idea nor very easy.

Here is the device I added, which is sold at popular online stores for around $20:

And now its back:

It needs only 1 power connection, so either the molex or the SATA one can be connected along with the data cable.
The opening that looks like a fan...isn't one, it's just a grate to allow air flow.

So tonight I cloned the XP HDD onto a spare, used SSD - removed it & set it aside for that mythical 'rainy day' & the SSD boots perfectly from the rack instead.

Now, when I want to switch between XP & another OS, I change the drive & power it up - poof, all done.

I like this idea so much that I now plan to get another KF-255 when the budget allows, so I can have a 2nd drive directly connected for data or even cloning purposes without having to mess around inside the guts of it anymore.

The DVD drive also got removed tonight as now that I have a USB stick with Ventoy - it is of historical value only.

The other h/w tool I use as needed is an external PATA & SATA to USB adapter - which is not as fast moving as a direct, internal connection, of course.

That is all my 'old tech' thinking for tonight & maybe it is a little bit closer in nature to my original query....