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Microsoft's latest patent could remove one of the most annoying problems in cinema

A new patent for an ‘Inconspicuous Mode’, which would silence your phone anytime you enter a cinema, was recently granted to Microsoft.

EVERYONE KNOWS HOW annoying it is when someone’s phone starts ringing in the middle of a movie, but that could be a thing of the past as Microsoft plans to make phones a little more discreet.

Recently, it was granted a patent for an ‘Inconspicuous Mode’, which would silence your phone and dim your screen while you’re in the cinema or theatre. What makes this different from Do Not Disturb or Silent Mode is that it activates by itself (although it does give you the choice of activating it manually if you wish).

“One problem with the ubiquity of these [smartphone] devices in so many different environments is that their use is not appropriate in all settings,” says the patent. “In one common example, in a theatre the sound from a mobile communication device and the light from its display can be distracting to other theater patrons. Even if the user deactivates certain features such as audio notifications of incoming calls and text messages, users may still rely on other features while in the theater.”

Inconspicuous mode How your phone would switch from 'Normal Mode' to 'Inconspicuous Mode', according to the patent. Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

In the patent filing, it says that it can detect the appropriate moment to activate by using features like GPS, sound, RFID, NFC, or WiFi.

It would also activate through other data like purchasing tickets through your phone and noting the time it’s on, or analysing your calendar and checking to see if you’re down to see a movie.

The patent even suggests that such a mode would be useful in other locations such as meeting rooms, vehicles and the bedroom.

It’s likely that if this setting ever sees the light of day, it will be for a future version of Windows Phone. Microsoft plans to reveal more information about Windows 10 at an event on Wednesday and may also reveal what Windows 10 for phones will look like.

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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