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Microsoft planning an automatic “inconspicuous mode” for our phones

Piercing ringtones or luminous glares can often ruin your enjoyment of a movie or a play if someone forgets to switch their smartphone off in the theater, but Microsoft wants to make our gadgets much more discreet: It’s applied for an “inconspicuous mode” patent that would turn off sounds and dim the screen at the same time.

The beauty of the idea is that the mode could be activated automatically rather than relying on a fallible human being to switch it on. Triggers such as a GPS location, an event in your calendar, or even an action in your browser (like buying cinema tickets) are discussed in the patent filing, which was granted to Microsoft this week. It could just be enough to save your blushes the next time you forget to switch your phone off while you’re out.

Related: Goodbye Windows Phone! Windows 10 will take it from here

When in “inconspicuous mode” the smartphone would adapt its screen to lower the brightness and show key bits of information (such as the current time for easy checking). The user would also have the option to switch in and out of the mode manually, should the situation require it. It’s probably a little optimistic to expect these features in Windows Phone 10 but Microsoft could be on to something here.

“One problem with the ubiquity of [mobile devices] in so many different environments is that their use is not appropriate in all settings,” reads the patent. “As one common example, in a theater the sound from a mobile communication device and the light from its display can be distracting to other theater patrons.” Microsoft’s patent documents suggest that this new mode could also come in useful during meetings, whilst in the car, and at night time while users are asleep in bed.

Via The Next Web

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