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Pixlplay Turns an Old Smartphone into a Fun Point-and-Shoot Camera for Kids

Pixlplay wants to breathe new life into your unused smartphones.

Unless you’ve got an iPhone or a Galaxy S, chances are you’re not going to get much cash for your old smartphone. That’s becoming a big problem, as used and obsolete smartphones start stacking up in the millions. It’s an alarming waste problem, so we’re always happy to see ways to put those old phones to good use.

Pixlplay is a smartphone case headed to the New York Toy Fair this year, and it does just that. The case is made to look like an old point-and-shoot 35 mm camera, complete with the little film advance dial — perfect for youngsters to pretend they’re pro photographers. But, this case isn’t built for any phone in particular — it’s been designed to fit any smartphone, Android or iOS, by leaving a nice big open space to cover anywhere the rear camera on a phone might be.

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For the most part, Pixlplay is all about playtime and imagination for younger kids — the film advance dial and lens focus dial are just there for fun. But, it’s not just for pretending to be a photographer — there is a shutter button that will snap photos when the phone’s camera app is open, making it a great first camera for kids. Then again, you’ll have to weigh all this against your kid inevitably asking you for a $1,000+ DSLR 10 to 15 years down the line as a result.

Chances are Pixlplay will mostly be used with old, out-of-use phones, but it’ll do a good job of protecting devices anyway. The phone is sealed away completely in the case, which provides protection from dust and drops. The case also has rubber camera grips, so it should be comfortable for younger kids to hold. Even if the protection isn’t the best, the physical shutter button uses the headphone jack, so it’s not like you can use it with your shiny new iPhone 7 or Moto Z anyway.

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The Pixlplay Kickstarter campaign launched this week. A $25 contribution is enough to secure a Pixlplay case, which will come in one of two colors — we’re just not sure what those colors will be yet. Pixl Toys is asking contributors for their color preferences, and the two most popular choices will be the ones put into production. Pixl Toys is targeting summer or fall for shipping. They’ll also have a companion photo app with fun and goofy filters, but it’ll only be available for iOS, so hopefully you still have some old iPhones laying around.