News Article

Cortana Just Became a Little More Real for Windows Phone Owners

Posted by Anthony Bacchus

New Siri-like service in Windows 8.1

We don't normally report news on the competitive smartphone wireless industry but when it relates to one of Xbox's biggest videogame IP's then we'll gladly take notice. Announced at yesterday's Build developer conference, Microsoft's mobile software division revealed that Cortana will be coming to Windows Phone users as their own personal assistant, similar to Apple's Siri and Google's Google Now voice services.

Cortano will be replacing the current search functionality on Window 8 phones through a software update and will be powered by Bing, Microsoft's primary search engine. Cortana is still in early beta form so the initial rollout will be exclusive to US owners, followed by China and the UK.

“Cortana’s appearance in Windows Phone 8.1 is a result of years of work from researchers, engineers and designers across Microsoft,” says Windows Phone Group Program Manager Marcus Ash. “She is a combination of advanced technology across areas like search, natural language and machine learning that Microsoft has been able to bring to life, along with a distinct personality that is inspired by one of the biggest franchises in Xbox history.”

For those already familiar with Siri, you'll be able to ask Cortana to schedule your daily appointments, check the weather, or set your alarm for the following morning. Ash boasts that Cortano acts like how a real personal assistant would:

“Cortana is inspired by real personal assistants, so she acts like one. A great example of this is for travel. Cortana knows when you’re planning to travel. She’ll track your flight, advise you when to leave early due to bad traffic, inform you of the weather at your destination, and keep you up-to-date on developments. Only Cortana provides “planners” for preparing for your day in morning and when you’re travelling somewhere new.”

Cortana is far more conversational compared to the robotic nature of Siri. According to Ash, Cortana actually has a personality (well, she IS a highly intelligent A.I.) and will be there for you even if you simply need someone to chat with or to sing a song. Okay, now this is all sounding a little creepy.

Are there any Windows Phone users out there that are excited about having Cortana as your own digital voice assistant? We're all for advancements in mobile technology and it is pretty cool of Microsoft to implement a videogame character into their smartphone software. Leave us your comments below.


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