Microsoft's Lumia Gestures app lets you control your Windows Phone without touching the screen

Nokia Lumia Arc

Microsoft is bringing some special gestures to Lumia Phones that may be a prelude to more expansive features coming to handsets with Windows 10. The company just released a free app in the Windows Phone store called Gestures Beta that lets you answer a call, mute your mic, put someone on speaker, and silence an incoming call without ever touching your phone's display.

The story behind the story: Many of the features Microsoft added to Gestures Beta were originally expected in an update to Windows Phone 8.1. Those features, dubbed 3D Touch, were reportedly held back, but The Verge says 3D Touch will return in Windows 10. One of the more interesting features that surfaced during the original 3D Touch reports was Mix View. This feature would allow you to manipulate your phone's Live Tiles without touching the display. Hover your finger over a contact tile, for example, and mini-tiles would explode out with options for calling, SMS, email, and Skype.

New Gestures

But here's what Lumia owners can now do, according to Microsoft's explanation of the new app.

To answer a call, all you have to do is raise the phone to your ear. It's surprising that this isn't already a standard feature on smartphones. Most handsets can already detect when they are near your ear and turn off the display to prevent accidental chin dials. It doesn't seem a very big leap to go from that to answering a call based on the same proximity detection.

Microsoft's new app will also let you mute your microphone by placing the handset face down on a flat surface like a table. Place the phone up on a table and you'll switch to speaker. You can also silence an incoming call by flipping the display side of the device down.

Not all Lumia phones are created equally, however, and some features may not work on the 630, 635, and 530 models, Microsoft warns.

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