Microsoft Patents "Whack" a Phone Silencing Feature

Our mobile devices can enrich our lives, but it goes without saying that caveats can still creep up, ranging in effect from a minor annoyance to a borderline meltdown.

One such scenario, I can relay from experience. You're standing in line at a super-market, your phone begins ringing - which for some reason is louder than usual. You fiddle around with it frantically, and either the UI or the phone itself lags, totally inundated with your rapid button-pushes. All the while, you manage to stress yourself out while annoying everyone around you. In my particular experience, I had to resort to pulling the battery out - something not possible on all devices.

I'm sure I'm not alone with that experience, so something clearly has to be done. Well, believe it or not, one good solution does exist - although just in idea form at this point. In a just-published patent, we gain insight into Microsoft's plans to allow us to whack our phones in order to quiet them.

It's humorous to think about, but this simple idea is, in my mind, rather brilliant. If this feature existed on my phone during the experience mentioned above, the stress-fest could have ended earlier.

As images of me hurling a phone towards a wall to shut it up goes through my overly-active imagination, I should mention that surfaces aren't required for a "whack" response to trigger. Instead, it seems a simple yet swift tap to the front of the phone will be enough.

I do question Microsoft's decision to require a whack over a simple shake, however, as it seems more likely someone would knock a phone out of their hand as the result of a swift tap. What is nice about this idea is that it doesn't require special hardware, so we're likely to see knock-off ideas come to us in the form of apps that skirt the patent just enough to remain safe.

Whatever the solution, though, anything that removes the chance of the situation I outlined above from happening will be wholeheartedly welcomed by me.

Tags:  Microsoft, Phone, Patent