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 cinema, or business presentation), it wouldn't just turn down the brightness, but instead remove the number of things making light on the screen, scaling down the UI to be a larger percentage of black. It'd be both inconspicuous to 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]