Microsoft granted theater mode patent for phones

Microsoft "theater mode" officially known as "inconspicuous mode"

Microsoft patents “theater mode”, a new functionality for your phone that could enable automatically when you’re at the movies to stay silent and it also dims the screen. The company calls it “inconspicuous mode” and it’s basically a new mode that makes your phone less annoying and disrupting for people around you, in certain places like movie theater, bedroom before you go to bed, important dinner or meeting.

When your phone is in the “inconspicuous mode”, there will be no sounds, the screen won’t glow as much, and notifications will disappear from the home screen. However, according to Microsoft, users will be able to configure the new “theater mode” to your liking. Perhaps you’ll be able to configure text messages to show up in the home screen or you may only want to dim the screen more than usual.

The most important feature is that it will be automatic. Inconspicuous will use the phone’s GPS to detect your location to enable the feature. Locations like restaurants, movie theaters, and other places will have the capability to turn on the feature if you’re using their Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Also, if your phone’s light sensor detects darkness while the microphone detects silence, the phone will automatically go into “inconspicuous mode”.

To make it all work, your phone will also be able to check your calendar and recent mobile payments to detect where you are and enable the feature.

This is a long time coming feature and if it grabs people’s attention, more venues will quickly embrace it. But make no mistake, although your phone will detect your surroundings and venues will able to tell your phone to be quiet, Microsoft says in the patent that users will retain full control of the mode (and the phone, of course).

Source CNN Money