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Whack your phone to shut it up: Microsoft patent

Microsoft wins patent

Microsoft has finally been granted a patent to develop a 'whack your smart phone' feature allowing you to silence it. Kipp would love to see this happening in the Middle East...

September 17, 2012 2:46 by

There have been hundreds of thousands of patents spanning within numerous industries and innovative discoveries that have ‘never seen the light of day’. Whether that’s an unfortunate thing or not really depends on the actual idea but an exciting new patent has recently been granted to Microsoft after over a year of waiting.

The ‘whack’ patent – filed for in March of 2011 – encapsulates a ‘whack-based’ feature that the company hopes will revolutionise the way that people silence their smart phones, particularly in inopportune situations where relying on user interface to silence the ring just isn’t quick enough. Kipp would feel more comfortable referring to it as ‘tapping’, as it instills a more subtle and approachable way that we would want to silence our phone.

We use the word ‘whack’ however, because Microsoft seems to insist on it judging by their use of the word over 140 times in their report.

Nevertheless, with today’s endless potential of technology constantly updating and releasing new handsets, mobile speakers are getting clearer by the day and ringtones are getting louder and more creative. Haven’t you ever felt awkward as your favourite song (which you stupidly set as the public ringtone) began blasting through a rather quiet conference room and wished you could just ‘whack’ it shut as you chuckle apologetically? You might just get that chance soon. Of course, you could always make sure that your phone is on silent mode before entering a meeting room, but who has the time for that?

The fact is that, no matter how deep we delve into the world of smart phones, applications, social media and other technologies to assist, entertain or keep us in touch throughout our daily lives, there are (thankfully) still many scenarios where – answering a phone call, tweeting, responding to an SMS or Facebook notification- is still considered socially awkward or borderline unacceptable.

“There are a variety of circumstances under which it may be desirable to quickly control a device without having to interact with a traditional user interface,” Microsoft’s filing said. “For example, often mobile device users forget to set their mobile devices in a silent or vibrate mode and the device rings or makes sounds at an inopportune moment.”

Kipp is not only pleased by the possible reach of this patent but is looking forward to its (soon to come?) commercial development in smart phones. We won’t lie to you, we think this feature would be perfect for Middle East users. As people continue to complain about the social stigma of ‘tech addicts’ that have no problem answering their mobile phones during meetings, a date or even a funeral; this patent may have just arrived at the perfect time. A few years ago wouldn’t have been completely awful either.

Many say that this feature is in fact nothing new and that a spec of its technology is already used in smart phone alarm clocks and other applications today. But the patent claims do indicate that it is possible that more than a mere software upgrade will be necessary to achieve a successfully running application. Whether the core technology is new or not, the idea of smacking something for silence is hardly a new concept to us. Remember the good old snooze button that used to be located at the top of your alarm clock? Used to be because it’s now smashed off. Let’s hope the new smart phone feature needs only a light tap.

What do you think of this feature and would you want to have and use it? Do you think it would be appropriate in the Middle East (Dubai) and how much resolve will it bring?


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