Turn your old Android device into a security camera

If you've got an old Android smartphone or tablet in a drawer somewhere doing nothing, then why not put it to good use as a security camera.

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CNET/CBSi

Got an old Android smartphone or tablet gathering dust somewhere? Chances are it has a pretty neat camera on it, so why not put it to good use by transforming it into a security camera?

Don't worry, this isn't complicated at all, and doesn't require you to root your device or know any coding. Just let an app do the work.

There are quite a few apps out there that can do this for you, but the two names that keep coming up are SalientEye Home Security Alarm and Alfred. Personally, I prefer SalientEye because there's a remote control app available that allows you to stop and start recording, get push notifications, and even see what the camera is seeing.

Installation is a snap -- download the app, run it, go through the initial setup (there's no need to provide an email or log in via Facebook or anything, which is nice -- don't worry though, the camera is password-protected) and you're ready to go. The app supports motion sensing, so it will only start recording when something in the camera's field of view changes. When that happens, you'll be sent a notification via email or SMS (charges apply). The photos are also stored online so you can go through them later.

SalientEye is free for 7 days, after that there's a variety of in-app purchase options for you to choose from.

Here are some tips for you to get the most from your Android security camera:

  • While the battery can provide up to 10 hours of usage, adding a power cord makes it a good 24/7 solution.
  • Remove any phone cases so your device doesn't overheat.
  • If you want a wider coverage, fit a fisheye lens over the camera.
  • You don't need to spend money on expensive phone mounts -- I find that you can do the same by placing the phone into cups or mugs, or use plasticine or Blu Tack to hold it up or keep it pointing in the right direction.

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