Microsoft's latest smash hit

Muting your cell phone with one simple whack

Technology can be frustrating. But smartphones, with their tiny touchscreen keypads and countless bells and whistles, can be downright maddening at times. Who hasn’t felt the temptation to whack their device into submission at one time or another?

Microsoft, it seems, feels your frustration. It recently filed a patent for “controlling an audio signal of a mobile device by detecting a whack.” In other words, when you want to silence your phone, you hit it. Microsoft cites the growing “capability and complexity” of today’s mobile devices for the need for its whack-it function. Tech bloggers have responded with equal parts glee and tongue-in-cheek humour to the filing. “I hereby dub this the clapper of the modern world,” said The Next Web. Many hope to see the technology appear on phones running Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system. In an increasingly crowded smartphone market, even modest improvements can help a company stand out.