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Microsoft plots ‘Inconspicuous Mode’ to ensure phones don’t ruin movies

Although there’s really no excuse for it, some folks still forget to silence or switch off their smartphones when they settling in at the cinema.

Thankfully help may soon be at hand for those dastardly souls who conspire to ruin the movie-going experience for considerate people.

Microsoft has earned a patent for a new Do Not Disturb-style mode, which would automatically make a Windows Phone handset cinema-friendly when patrons entered the building.

The Inconspicuous Mode would use several environmental factors to automatically switch off the sounds and dim the screen of the handset.

For example, GPS could be used to detect the location, while calendar events and browser activity such as purchasing tickets could also be used to automatically switch on Inconspicuous Mode.

In its application (via The Next Web) Microsoft points out that even if movie patrons aren’t texting away during movies, the handset is often used as a replacement for a watch, which is equally distracting for other patrons. The company also explains how the mode could be used in other social situations where rampant mobile phone use is unacceptable.

“One problem with the ubiquity of these devices in so many different environments is that their use in not appropriate in all settings. 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. Even if the user deactivates certain features such as audio notification of incoming calls and text messages, users may still rely on other features while in the theater,” the application reads.

“For example, mobile communication devices are sometimes used as a substitute for a watch, and these people may use the device to check the time while in the theater. Even this use of the device can be distracting to other theater patrons because of the light emanating from the display when the user looks at the display to see the time.

“Many of these same and other similar problems arise not only in theaters, but in other environments and venues such as in a meeting room, automobile and even bedrooms.”

Microsoft is scheduled to unveil a version of Windows 10 for smartphones on January 21. Surely the inclusion of Inconspicuous Mode would make the world a much better place?

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