Microsoft has been upping its patent game, especially in the realm of mobile and tablet displays. A new patent granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows new technology capable of auto-dimming and muting a device.
The new technology uses GPS, Wi-Fi and time to change the device to 'inconspicuous mode'. Microsoft says it will known when the user is in a cinema or in bed, and automatically change the phone's settings.
Inconspicuous mode also removes notifications, background image and other parts of the lock-screen, leaving the user with the digital time. This is similar to 'airplane mode', removing all notifications and signals.
Microsoft filed the patent in 2013, and after two years it has been approved by the U.S. patent office. The company will implement the new mode on Windows Phone, although users might have to wait until Windows 10 before it arrives.
Inconspicuous mode does have rather limited use, unless it can automatically know when the user is in a meeting or somewhere phones are meant to be turned off. Using Wi-Fi options and GPS location will make it easy for the phone to know when the user is in a cinema, but it may have a harder time with offices.
Still, Microsoft has a few months to continue working on the automatic mode and make it smarter.
Android and iOS already feature 'Do Not Disturb' options, but these need to be set manually, the whole point of Microsoft's new mode is it will be automatic. The new patent might push Apple and Android to make their own auto-mute modes using GPS location.