Theater Mode will auto-silence your phone at the movies

Microsoft has patented a feature for their phones that'll make the whole process of going to the movie theater a lot easier. Not that it's supremely difficult to turn your phone off before a movie begins, but the Microsoft patent that's popped up today will make entering the movie theater the switch. You'll have Normal Mode and Theater Mode – kind of like Airplane Mode, but switched on automatically, right when you walk in the door – and how dare you think you should have sound on your phone during The Hobbit.

There's also an "Inconspicuous" mode that'll be active in the theater when you enter. This mode turns your phone's sound off and turns brightness down to near-zero. Notifications are received, but not distributed.

In Inconspicuous mode, you'll have a large clock on your home screen with basic info surrounding it.

In-theater your device might have the ability to switch on mobile payment authorization so you can pay for your popcorn with speed.

To activate this system, your phone will detect GPS location, calendar events, or Bluetooth beacons. If you'd planned on going to a movie, your device might assume you've gone and put itself into Theater Mode while you're supposed to be seeing a film. If you step within the bounds of the Bluetooth beacons of a movie theater, Theater Mode might also be turned on automatically.

We'll just have to wait and see. For now it's just a patent for a technology that should – by all means – have been activated on all phones long ago – not just Windows Phone devices in the near future.