Smartphone companies nowadays are fighting a spec war - who pushes out the first quad, octa, trillion core phone, who has more ram, who has more bling. We, consumers, end up buying them to reply to emails, check Facebook and play some "intensive" game like Cut the Rope or Angry Birds.
It would be great to actually put all that (spare, let's face it!) computing power to good use. Fortunately, the folks at HTC have built an easy to use app for this, that just works!
You can read more about the initiative here, but basically HTC Power to Give is an app that uses your Android phone's power to solve research problems while charging and connected to Wifi. It won't use up your battery or your data plan, so there's really nothing to lose if you let it run while your phone is plugged in at night. Also, you get to choose toward what research directions you want to donate your compute power - examples include medical research like studying AIDS, as well as more technological oriented problems like clean energy.
Of course, sharing compute power with public grids has been a thing for a while now, but the client apps were mostly limited to larger devices like computers and PlayStations. Having used them, the process was not smooth at all - first, the setup took some time and then you could feel your computer becoming more sluggish, or, if you used a PlayStation, you couldn't do anything else with the device while the app was running. With the Android app, everything just works (the Apple way) and by default it only runs when your screen is off - so you won't even notice it.
With the amount of Android smartphones in the world, there's great potential. So check the app out on the Play Store and start making good use out of that multicore smartphone!