Microsoft Unveils 'Cortana' Personal Assistant
With voice-command based virtual assistants like Siri now an expected attribute of the modern smartphone experience, it comes as little surprise that Microsoft wants to play catch up and launch a Siri rival of its own.
As MMi first reported in January, Microsoft has been working hard on a virtual assistant. And on Wednesday, the world first witnessed the fruits of Microsoft's labor. Microsoft today showed off Windows Phone 8.1 and a number of new features for Windows Phone, with Cortana being chief among them.
Named after a character from the Halo video game, Cortana is powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine. Users can count on Cortana to make phone calls, send texts, dictate notes or provide reminders.
"Cortana gets to know you and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something," Microsoft says. "She detects and monitors the stuff you care about, looks out for you throughout the day, and helps filter out the noise so you can focus on what matters to you."
Cortana will launch shortly in the U.S. as a beta, in the U.K. and China in the second half of 2014, and in other countries in 2015.
According to Microsoft, registered developers can update their phones to Windows Phone 8.1 as part of the developer program later this month.
To check out Windows Phone 8.1 for yourself, click here