Smartphone could quiet itself in theater

Jan. 17, 2013 at 5:04 PM

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Microsoft may be working on a smartphone that can automatically silence itself when it realizes it's in a movie theater, a patent application indicates.

As described in the patent first reported by Infoworld, the phone would put itself into "an inconspicuous mode of operation" in certain circumstances, changing its ring tone to silent, lowering screen brightness and simplifying alerts for things like texts to be less distracting.

The phone would change operating modes based on both global positioning system information and environmental factors like the light or sound level, CNET reported Thursday.

The GPS information could tell the smartphone it's in a movie theater, and the phone's camera could detect when the lights are lowered and put the device in its "inconspicuous" mode.

Or at a concert venue the phone's microphone could pick up the start of the music, telling the device to go quiet and darken the screen, CNET said.

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