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Microsoft granted patent on 'inconspicuous mode' to make your device less disruptive

Microsoft has been granted a patent for a new "inconspicuous mode", which would automatically adjust settings on your phone in certain situations to make your phone less distracting. The company first filed for the patent about a year ago.

Inconspicuous mode patent

While Windows Phone already provides a way to quickly silence your device, "inconspicuous mode" would potentially be able to do this automatically. The mode would, in theory, display a limited amount of information on the lock screen, and could also mute sounds and adjust brightness.

The patent application states that it can be activated by a number of factors, like location and noise level. It could also be triggered, for instance, at a movie theater based on a ticket purchase in your phone's browser. "Inconspicuous mode" could also be manually activated should the need arise.

Source: United States Patent Office, via The Next Web

Thanks to Rolie for the tip!

88 Comments
  • Gooooood
  • It's exactly locking our lockscreen's info from outsiders..no..? Or something to save battery or something..? Didn't get it..
  • I think you can use that on work, or to study better without distraction, or when you need to concentrate in something
  • Sounds like an extension of driving mode.
  • it shows minimum info to prevent distraction
  • I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing...
  • It's not exactly new...they just got around to finally patenting Situations from Symbian. We had it for years and it was great. Using wifi points, cell tower ids, gps location, present BT signals, etc, the phone would auto enable/disable or alter settings to your needs.
  • In the symbian era we had a lot of things
  • It's been quite fun seeing other OSs catch up to Symbian's list of features, and become just as convoluted.
  • That's cool
  • That makes a phone truly smart..
  • +820
  • Can you share the wallpaper please? :)
  • http://img.talkandroid.com/uploads/2014/03/HTC_M8_All_New_One_Leaked_Wal...
  • Haha madness that they need a patent for that.
  • New things/innovations should be patented..
  • Software should not be patentable.
  • Why? Its not like software doesn't take alot of R&D. Why pump money into R&D when you can steal it from your neighbor? This is where patents come in.
  • So, Office, windows, OSX, Photoshop, etc shouldn't be patentable? A software company shouldn't be allowed to protect the thousand of hours of work they put into developing software? On the other hand, simple ideas like thim in which there probably wasn't much work involved shouldn't be patentable. Especially since some of these things were done in the past.
  • +1030 Exactly..!!
  • Of the list you provided, OSX is the one that isn't patentable because it's UNIX. Other things on the list have parts of their technology already covered by patents.  
  • Isn't a new thing. Motorola have this.... "Smart Actions" - the name. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.motorola.contextual.smartrules And Nokia have something similiar on the symbian era.
  • Neither new nor innovative.
     
  • These days, you patent whatever you can get away with.. If you don't, you might end up being at the mercy of those who do :-(
  • Same thing I was thinking. Like.. something like this is so basic, and it should not be allowed to be patentable.
  • yet nobody has done this yet, so why not patenting it for later use?
  •  Motorola have this.... "Smart Actions" - the name. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.motorola.contextual.smartrules And Nokia have something similiar on the symbian era.
  • Patents are sometimes a earning source too..!!
    "It should not be allowed" Every company does that..World will not go on your saying..!!
  • Wow, that looks really cool. Will be interested to see how this pans out
  • Microsoft is top notch when it comes to security
  • Wow!! New features like these make the OS interesting..
  • So basically like automatic profiles combined with quiet hours. Nearly as good of a patent like google incognito browsing based on visited sites or context of the site that has been granted last week. who is running this patent show in the us? a clown?
  • And it changes your lockscreen, changes how information is presented, how you get alerted. It's also not location-locked but can look for wifi-mac addresses or blutooth-units. Location based devices can't change these settings when you get to your car for example.
  • Please share start screen background
  • See http://img.talkandroid.com/uploads/2014/03/HTC_M8_All_New_One_Leaked_Wal...
  • http://img.talkandroid.com/uploads/2014/03/HTC_M8_All_New_One_Leaked_Wal...
  • Thank you guys
  • Here you go
    http://img.talkandroid.com/uploads/2014/03/HTC_M8_All_New_One_Leaked_Wal...
  • Thank you
  • What does it exactly mean ......i cant understand
  • It's one of those patents that is purposely made very generic. A blank screen is the most incognito.
  • It's like a visual version of putting your phone on silent. You know how when your in a dark room, eg cinema, or meeting room with a presentation and dim lights,  and someone takes their phone out and the bright screen can be seen from miles around lol, well this patent is for a mode which will reduce the brightness, remove all the clutter, probably lower/mute the volume, and do lots of other things.  Probably incorporates a bit of the Glance functionality too
  • Cool, keep innovating. But fix all the gaps, inches which will make us all wow!
  • Nice feature. Want to see it in #windows 10
  • Probably after they port it to Android and IOS :/
  • And slowly the modern WP operating system remembers that Symbian got cool (and very useful) stuff. Like profiles, glance... Who knows, maybe in the near future we'll see the notification light gently blinking on our phones.
  • I voted for this feature on UserVoice :)
    https://lumiabetaapps.uservoice.com/forums/268217-lumia-gestures-beta/su...
  • Its not related with any Symbian features
  • It is.
  • Remember that blinking with Nokia Tune.
  • Microsoft owns so
    Many patents...
  • Could we please have something like 'situations' back? My N8 could know when I reached office without Bluetooth or GPS by knowing the location through cellular related criteria, that was one solid utility!
  • So it will track our location, use mic for noise levels and track activities and bookings done even from browser!!!! How safe is our personal life and data???? Apart from that it sounds great!!!! =)
  • That must be a really, really old image, the calendar reminder says "1 year anniversary of Windows 7 launch".
  • Smart observation!
  • Hopefully we'll see something about in on the 21st
  • Yet we can't get profiles and a notification toggle for them, I wonder sometimes who comes up with this stuff when we are missing basics.
  • Yeah. There are still some basic functions missing from windows phone.
  • Walk into meeting rushed, forgot to turn the phone off. Well don't worry because the phone knows you have a meeting right now and did it for you. Sounds interesting.
  • The adhd era.
  • Sounds a bit like Situations app that Nokias Symbian devices had years ago...
  • Exactly.I know about that.
  • Sounds like how quiet hours already works with your calendar but more in depth.
  • Haha!I remember having something similar like this on a feature phone of the lowest order maybe more than a year ago.
  • If there is money to be made off any new innovation, a patent must be procured. Otherwise, you lose out to the competition. Google loves to steal other people's ideas. The patent gives one a legal leg to stand on.
  • This is what really a smartphone should do.....
  • I love it, but stuff like this and quiet hours could certainly use a physical toggle, otherwise it's really inconvenient to pull my phone all the way out and go through a couple swipes.
  • ^ This lots. Hard switch like the iPhone.
  • Very symbolic on MSFT priorities with WP..
  • So what's the quick way to silence your device? If you mean flipping it over when a call comes that's hardly a solution. Other than that its tap to wake up, volume press, down arrow, tap, tap. Which is crap.
  • Pressing the power button works to silence an incoming call on my Ativ S. I'm pretty sure that is an OS feature so it should work on other phones too. It at least gives you the time to do the steps you listed without the phone continuing to ring.
  • How is this different from quiet hours function?
  • Exactly my thoughts. "turn on quiet hours when I have an event in my calendar that is marked "busy""
  • Cool
  • I didn't know there's a way to quickly silence my phone. How do I do that?
  • So if my Cortana knows when I am at work (my phone needs to be silent / flight mode), she can do this for me!? (I hope...)
  • That's what I was thinking... would be cool if Cortana could switch my phone to "inconspicuous mode" during the time for a scheduled event -- meetings, appointments, etc. Now THAT would be a smart phone.
  • We'll hope all current Lumia devices gets 'em with no additional hardware..
  • If you want to read the Patent on your phone, the correct link is: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=...
  • Sounds like watchdogs...
  • s-s-stupid
  • I like having my phone on silent when my girlfriend is around cause I don't like distractions. Instead of adjusting 2 volume bars, I'd like to be able to do it all with one tap.
  • Microsoft may not be winning the smartphone war but they're totally all over the patient war - rockin' it. lol
  • *patent
  • Sweeeet
  • Pretty sure at least Nokia, and likely a few others already hold patents for this.
  • software connot be patented in Europe. this kind of things slow down the progess. 
  • I do the already kind of with quiet hours. Set quiet hours to turn on when I have an event in my calendar marked "busy"