Repurpose old smartphones for video chat?

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Repurpose old smartphones for video chat?

Postby DarthContinent » March 24th, 2014, 9:09 am

I've seen and occasionally picked up old smartphones cheap at yard sales. I once snagged an LG phone for $2 and use it as a camera and for browsing at wifi hotspots.

I was wondering though, is there any way to repurpose smartphones for direct phone-to-phone video chat, for example?

I'm guessing you probably could do this to an extent by setting one up as a wifi hotspot and then having a partner connect to it, but would it be possible to use the transceivers that the phones normally use to talk to the cell towers to instead talk to each other? This seems especially appealing given that the signal strength and therefore range of wifi would seem to be a lot lower.

Thanks in advance for any info! :)
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Re: Repurpose old smartphones for video chat?

Postby asheets » March 24th, 2014, 10:40 am

Skype for Mobile, perhaps?
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Re: Repurpose old smartphones for video chat?

Postby Mjolinor » March 24th, 2014, 10:42 am

I think there is a peer to peer protocol spec in GSM but I think it has to be implemented by the mast owners

There was talk at one time about having free calls to spouse / family using that method but it seems to have died the death.
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Re: Repurpose old smartphones for video chat?

Postby DarthContinent » March 24th, 2014, 12:22 pm

asheets wrote:Skype for Mobile, perhaps?


Based on this it sounds like at least an internet connection would be necessary, but I'm trying to see whether we could dig deeper into the phone's architecture and use the same pathway that the phone would use to talk to the cell tower to instead talk peer-to-peer with another phone.
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Re: Repurpose old smartphones for video chat?

Postby DarthContinent » March 24th, 2014, 12:25 pm

Mjolinor wrote:I think there is a peer to peer protocol spec in GSM but I think it has to be implemented by the mast owners

There was talk at one time about having free calls to spouse / family using that method but it seems to have died the death.


Well poop, maybe making one phone a wifi hotspot is the easiest way to go for now then.

I mean phones in general can be aggravating enough in having different power jacks, for example, so I'd guess that's part of why trying to get low-level with them to use the electronics to connect to just any other old smartphone on the same wavelength would be daunting at best, at least for me. I know how to solder and some web and database coding but I'm not electronics engineer, able to repurpose some phone transceiver using who knows what protocols and checksums to instead use some I design for my own purposes.
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Re: Repurpose old smartphones for video chat?

Postby Retroplayer » March 24th, 2014, 3:34 pm

You realize that the range comes from having many towers and having them mounted up high, right? The range is probably not much greater than wifi if you take the towers out of the equation.
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Re: Repurpose old smartphones for video chat?

Postby Mjolinor » March 24th, 2014, 3:44 pm

The legality is also open to question I think, at least in most civilised areas and America. :)
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Re: Repurpose old smartphones for video chat?

Postby DarthContinent » March 27th, 2014, 7:29 am

Mjolinor wrote:The legality is also open to question I think, at least in most civilised areas and America. :)


Hey, we're civilized in most areas (well okay maybe not the local Walmart, but... :D).
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Re: Repurpose old smartphones for video chat?

Postby DarthContinent » March 27th, 2014, 7:30 am

Retroplayer wrote:You realize that the range comes from having many towers and having them mounted up high, right? The range is probably not much greater than wifi if you take the towers out of the equation.


Ahh, no I thought that a phone uses two separate transceivers, the most powerful to talk with the towers, and a less powerful one for wifi.
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