Microsoft patents Inconspicuous Mode to save us from ourselves

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

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5 Comments

1. someones4

Posts: 627; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

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

2. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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...

3. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 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.

4. freebee269

Posts: 542; Member since: Aug 10, 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.

5. buccob

Posts: 2956; Member since: Jun 19, 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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