Microsoft's recent patent filing would make your Windows Phone more discrete

Microsoft files Inconspicuous Mode Patent

Our Windows Phones are great devices to keep you in touch. Either through actually using it as a wireless telephone, checking your email, chatting through text messages, surfing the web or accessing your favorite app or game. But there are some occasions where your Windows Phone, or any other smartphone for that matter, can be rather annoying.

Occasions such as a movie theater when someone pulls out there Windows Phone to check a missed call and the screen lights up the room. Or when you're in a meeting and the chime sounds for an incoming text that interrupts your bosses in mid-speech.

Microsoft hopes one of their latest patent filings will help your Windows Phone be more discrete. The "Inconspicuous Mode for Mobile Devices" is designed to dim the brightness of your screen and the audio disabled.

The "Inconspicuous Mode" can be tripped automatically based on environmental conditions (ambient light, noise conditions) using an onboard sensor or manually.

Who knows... maybe this is a sign we may be seeing ringer profiles, like we had on Windows Mobile phones, make a come back. The automatic aspect of all this would come in handy for those times we forget to switch things to silent.  Might even keep some of us out of the dog house.

Source: US Patent Office, via: CNET; Thanks, pedenske, for the tip!


Reader comments

Microsoft's recent patent filing would make your Windows Phone more discrete


I so miss the fact that I could have my ringer automatically turn off based on meetings in my calendar. Biggest gap when I switched from wm6.

Looks like a poster child for patent reform.  A sixth grader could've put together both the concept and the patent text.

"Tripped automatically based on environmental conditions." Don't see how that will work when my phone spends much of its time in my pocket...

Well, you're not thinking like an engineer. There's a proximity sensor, so maybe if it's in your pocket you can set one ring style, and when it is out you can set another, based upon other data, such as calendar appointments etc.

Thats the major advantage to the iphone and palm pre, the switch to change from vibrate/silent and ringer on.  Wish this was designed into windows phones...like my lumia 900 but would like that on my phone.

All you have to do now to change it now is hit the volume rocker once and then tap the circle that shows either the vibrate/silent icon, or the ringer icon if youre ringer is currently on. Doing so will automatically switch it to silent. when done from silent it will switch it back to the volume you had it previously.

It works as described on my 920. Press either up or down volume briefily and then circle with the bell in it at upper right. Phone goes into vibrate immediately. Reverse to come out of vibrate.

What could make the phone discreet is discreet Tile COLOURS. Those flashy bright colours the tiles come with are awful for anyone who wants to be taken seriously when they pull out a cellphone. So perhaps MS should also consider putting out a couple of dark colours for the phones like dark grey and dark blue.

But doesn't that change the contrast in the entire phone? I'm talking about tile colours without messing with the rest of the phone contrast.
Also, that's only available on WP8 and this "discreet" mode update will, I think, be on 7.5 too. (At least nothing in the article suggests otherwise I see no reason why it would be left out of 7.x phones)

I actually agree.  The flashy colors are great and help get the phone noticed, but I feel there could be more muted/dark/neutral colors like a charcoal gray, navy blue, deep burgundy, forest green, etc., for when you don't want to be noticed.  It should be pretty simple to add colors, wouldn't it?

But rows of antiquated crappy graphics are more serious? Oh, and how about that note program, like real paper, and the pages turn, how cute....

WP8 has a steel. Which is not grey and not really dark. I actually DO have a darker grey on my Lumia 800 BUT that's because it's a German T-Mobile branded phone and their phones have that darker grey as an extra. However such colour is not available in any other country that I know of. Which limits me to buy phones at T-Mobile Deutschland. Which isn't always easy specially since the phone then leaves Germany to return to my homeland and gets a Vodafone card instead.

It's the difference between British English and American English, my friend. And British English was there first, so if one of the spelling methods should win, it should be the British English one, which is colours. 

Well, first because: 1 - there's no such thing as "American English". I don't know if you're aware but the USA does NOT have an "official" language as Law. Of course English is the "official" language, but there's no Law saying it. It's just tradition. Therefore, Americans have taken the English Language and modified it at their will. That's why you spell "color". 2 - In Europe we learn the English that is used in all official institutions, meaning British English (Meaning the Oxford rules. If you go to the UN, for example, you'll notice that the orthography used is the British one ;) ) So we spell "colour". And "Theatre", "centre", "neighbour", "favour", "honour", "labour" etc. And we also spell "herbs" ;P

The screen brightness on my 920 is great in the dark. It is even smart enough to not blind me with the lock screen like an iPhone does. The problem is that the back, start and search buttons are at full brightness! Why not make them follow the screen brightness? It would be cool to have different profiles selected based on location. Just select a region on the map and anchor a profile for that region.

Just bring back Nokia Situations!
That app was incredibly useful on Symbian... if anyone here even remembers it.

Using sensors? Hope that won't contribute in even faster battery draining. Each year smartphones batteries last shorter because adding innecesary features to an OS meant to be slim and light.
The way out for discresion is letting the user set timed volume profiles(by internal clock), or location profiles(by cached location), or auto-mute on meetings(by local agenda), auto-mute at night, etc. Any other fancy "sensor" implementations will end up being tricky to perform and will cost battery life.

The Auto-profile setting on old windows 6.x phones was one of the best features i've never seen replicated. The fact i could set up everything in my calendar and it would automatically goto a Vibrate profile based on my time being set to 'Busy' was amazing.
At the moment i set my phone to silent when i'm in the office and forget to turn the ringer back on outside of work and so miss a tone of calls and messages.
What would be even better would be if I could set different profiles depending on what time status i use in outlook/calendar (i.e. Busy, tentative, out of office etc). I could then build my whole day through my calendar. Would be amazing!!