Cortana Voice Assistant Coming to Windows Phone in New 8.1 Update
March 3, 2014 1:09 PM
She'll be represented as a circle that asks, "Need Something?"
Apple has Siri, and now, Windows Phone users will have a similar female companion with the Windows Phone 8.1 update.
, Microsoft will provide Windows Phone users with the digital personal assistant "Cortana.” Cortana, who was named after the "Halo" video game series, will replace the built-in Bing search functionality.
Using services like Bing and Foursquare,
will be able to dig up information for the user in seconds such as personal information, location data, reminders, etc. She can even sift through email to retrieve flight information and other important notes.
Cortana may be based on a female game character, but she won't take that form on Windows Phone. Instead, she'll be represented as a circle that asks, "Need Something?"
Similar to Siri, Cortana will also refer to the user by the name of their choosing. Just enable the feature in Cortana's settings, and she'll call the user by any nickname with correct pronunciation.
Microsoft is expected to show Cortana off at its Build conference soon, and will release a developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 at that same time.
Back in September 2013, Microsoft talked about Cortana being much more than just a personal assistant. It wants to make the assistant technology a key part of the entire "shell" of core services and experience on Windows Phones, Xbox One and Windows OS.
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer called it "a family of devices powered by a service-enabled shell." That's where Cortana comes in. Cortana will have the ability to learn and adapt; and will use Microsoft Bing, Tellme speech technology, natural language software and social graph software to tap into every services and experience area of the device.
Microsoft has been talking about launching a personal assistant since 2011 that would compete with the likes of
"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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