Mobile phones are ubiquitous, they have become a necessary part of our everyday lives. Just think about the last time you forgot yours at home or at the office and how naked you felt until you had it back at your side, ready to take a call or tweet out the latest news or take care of some business dealings on the move. Just like computers, they have a defined, and short, life cycle that leaves us with these out of date yet still functional devices.
What to do, what to do, what to do?
Use it as an emergency backup phone. That’s right, inactive phones (in states that have a “Do Not Disconnect” policy) must be able to still call 9-1-1 as long provided they can still communicate with a signal tower (Click here to read wikipedia article) with links to FCC pdfs detailing this policy). We’ll put this policy decision into the normally vacant “win” column for the FCC as I don’t agree with most things they do these days. So here’s what I would suggest as a potential life cycle for your mobile devices.
First, once your device gets replaced by the latest and greatest Droid, IPhone or Palm Pre, keep all accessories for charging it, and put it in your car (or a loved one’s) or an emergency kit. Make sure to store it turned off and fully charged, testing it every once in a while to make sure it still has battery life. You’ll have better peace of mind knowing you have a way to communicate in the case of an emergency even if your regular devices are not working or in another place. As a secondary benefit, keeping old phones around is also good as a backup in case your main device has problems and you need a phone for a few days until yours gets fixed. The final rotation for your phones could be as a donation to a group who can find a use for them still.
There are many organizations accepting old cell phones as donations to be reactivated and used by people who can’t afford a phone themselves…Do a search and you’ll find many to choose from (or click the image to the left for the search I did. One that i found quickly was 911cellphonebank. There was one that benefits our men in uniform called Cell Phones for Soldiers.