You know that feeling. You're in a dark room, maybe you just woke up, and you reach for your phone to check something and -- BAM! -- you're assaulted by its full brightness and effectively blind and squinting for the next 30 seconds. Or maybe you just want to text at the movies. Microsoft has a potential fix for that.
Microsoft recently filed a patent for something called "inconspicuous mode." In the same vein as auto-brightness -- which never seems to go low enough -- inconspicuous mode would be context sensitive. If it could tell you were in a dark room (maybe a theatre, or business presentation), it wouldn't just turn down the brightness, but instead remove the amount of things making light on the screen, scaling down the UI to be a larger percentage of black. It'd be both inconspicuous others and inoffensive to your own lookin'-balls.
A patent application doesn't necessarily mean this is something that's going to roll out, but hopefully it will. It's a smart, simple solution to a problem that plenty of us have, though for a variety of different reasons. The bummer would be if Microsoft got this on lock, though. This is a feature every phone should have. Maybe someday. [USPTO via Engadget]