Google requested a patent which is entitled “Activating a connected flight mode”, with which it intends to take Airplane mode to another level.
While you probably already know how to activate airplane mode on your phone, the patent requires the device’s sensors to determine whether you’re flying by detecting changes in acceleration and speed, a drop in pressure, and listening for certain sounds.
According to the patent application, triggers that would activate Connected Flight Mode include environmental factors as a drop in pressure and changes in acceleration and velocity; cabin sounds such as flight engine noise and altitude ding, ultrasonic signals from aircraft headlights, various radio signals (GPS, Mobile ID, Wi-Fi signal) and contextual factors such as trip booking activity and flight status charge.
Once the device determines that you are flying, Connected Flight Mode is automatically activated. The purpose is to turn off your mobile device’s radios while connected to the aircraft’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi signals.
Currently, if you enable Airplane Mode on your phone, all connectivity is disabled including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but you can enable them after enabling Airplane Mode.
With Connected Flight Mode turned on, as indicated in the patent filing, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity remains active for use on the plane.
Sounds like a good idea, although Google is still working on it. Hopefully Connected Flight Mode won’t take long to become a reality on Android.