Every Phone Should Have This Mode That Won't Blind You In The Dark

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]


    Nokia's Lumia 920 does a fairly good job of dimming the screen effectively for those 'dark' moments. At least I found it so...

      That it does, but it's still blinding as ALL hell when you wake up in the dark and check your phone.

      I've thought the same thing about my 920 too! Best auto-brightness I've used to date.

    how can you text at the movies if your phone is supposed to be OFF!!! one of my biggest peeves is when people get their phones out in front of me at the movies and text or facebook or whatever, surely you can live without it for just a couple of hours!

      That doesn't annoy me nearly as much as the large number of morons who spend $150 on a concert ticket and spend the entire show looking at their phone screen as they video it instead of enjoying the unique experience of a live show.

        The only thing more annoying than that are those people who get annoyed by such things and rant about it on a web article about how people use their phone. Who cares? Its THEIR phone and THEY paid for the ticket so they can do whatever the hell they like. Live and let live, I think is what the new age people say on such occasions :-)

        Anyway, back to the article......

          yeah they paid, but so did the person behind them so why should they have to be distracted by some tool holding his super bright phone up for all to see

          They hold them up over their head, interfering with the view of the stage. i.e. It directly affects others as well as making them look like morons. There should be a special section for them where they can be out of everyone else's way and we can all point and laugh at their stupidity (between bands, of course).

    Yeah I have "NightMode" on my Android phone, free app, lets me reduce brightness as low as I want.

      Yea, but it is not built into the OS, and it wont work without actually being 'on' (consuming battery power).

    This is only an issue if you don't have an ambient light sensor and software that actually works properly.

    At least Apple didn't get to the patent office with this one first :-)

      They will probably claim they did however.

    I use my phone to wake me at 2:30 am for morning shift and I never find it too bright. That is most likely down to WP8's black background but I don't see much need for this.

    You mean the mode that pretty much all current Nokia phones (with exception of the windows phones) have?

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