‘Inconspicuous Mode’ will stop your phone from being a nuisance in the cinema

When you’re off to watch a film at your local picturehouse  you often have to be reminded to switch off your phone by those strange and annoying adverts. Soon, though, your phone might do that by itself.

It’s not particularly difficult to turn your phone’s ringer off when you go to the cinema, but some people forget and others don’t care. Microsoft has patented a new feature called ‘Inconspicuous Mode’ that will do that automatically instead. All you have to do is walk through the front door.

Once you enter the cinema, the phone will enter ‘Inconspicuous Mode’ which will turn off the sound and reduce the brightness to as low as it can be without switching off altogether. From there the phone will only display basic date and time details.

According to the patent, the system will activate in one of three situations: GPS detects that you have walked into a cinema, it detects a Bluetooth beacon, or you actually told the phone you’ll be watching a film at a certain time. Obviously there are some flaws there, like the fact that you have have changed your mind about going to the cinema, or your phone may switch into Inconspicuous Mode when you walk past one — even if you don’t go inside.

It’s still a concept for the time being, but surely it’s the kind of thing that should have been introduced years ago? We’ll have to see how it pans out, but hopefully we won’t have to deal with any annoying ‘switch off your phone’ ads — or the people who opt to ignore them.

Tom Pritchard