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Microsoft patents Inconspicuous Mode to save us from ourselves

Posted: , by Michael H.

Microsoft patents Inconspicuous Mode to save us from ourselves
You know how it is when you go to the movies, it's impossible to remember to turn off your phone, or even put it on silent, because it's not like there is a giant screen in front of you and enormous speakers that tell you to do just that. Luckily, Microsoft wants to step in and take away all of that trouble with a new patented technology that it is calling Inconspicuous Mode.

The patent explains a system whereby your mobile phone would be automatically silenced, and the screen dimmed when you enter places like a movie theater. Of course, there are already apps, at least on Android, like Tasker and Locale which allow you to set up rules like this, or quick access profiles which would accomplish the same effect. But, the USPTO doesn't really care much about prior art as long as there is one key difference, which in this case might be the full automation. 

The way Microsoft's Inconspicuous Mode would work is through a combination of GPS location, and one environmental factor, like lowered lights in a movie theater, or sound levels in a museum for example. 

Not a bad idea, overall, but not something the USPTO necessarily should have decided was a patentable idea either. 

source: USPTO via InfoWorld

5 Comments
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posted on 23 Jan 2013, 18:29

1. someones4 (Posts: 618; Member since: 16 Sep 2012)


Isn't this something like Motorola's smart actions?

posted on 23 Jan 2013, 19:10

2. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


Action based on GPS location....check.

Environmental ones....not sure. I dont use Smart Actions anymore. This MS thing might be like a combo of different apps, features. I think Samsung and other apps has something where the phone does something when its plced on its face.

Environmental checks would be a nice thing...

posted on 23 Jan 2013, 19:19

3. jroc74 (Posts: 4720; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)


I know with SA....you can set it to turn stuff off when the display dims... I could just set it to turn Airplane Mode on, turn volume down.

posted on 23 Jan 2013, 22:33

4. freebee269 (Posts: 519; Member since: 10 Aug 2012)


"Not a bad idea, overall, but not something the USPTO necessarily should have decided was a patentable idea either. "

i wonder if this was said when apple patented round corners on a smartphone? my guess is no.

posted on 28 Feb 2013, 07:03

5. buccob (Posts: 1367; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


Llama for Android is the best at automation. The UI might not be as good as Tasker or Locale, but it is more powerful than the later and it is free.

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