Apple and Google both have a personal virtual assistant on their respective mobile operating systems. Windows Phone technically has one, but it’s more like a Voice Search and less like an AI. Fans of the operating system had been expecting one to ship with Windows Phone 8, but that didn’t happen. Turns out the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update will fill this void. The assistant’s going to be called Cortana and it borrows much of its features from Siri and Google Now. Cortana is the name of a Halo character, if you were wondering.
According to the leaks, the digital assistant will bring in the best features of its competitors. According to The Verge, Cortana will have a circular animated icon as its primary UI element. The color will be chosen by the user and the element will bounce around the screen excitedly or frown when asked to perform a task. Also, it’ll be calling you by your name, just like Siri does. Cortana’s data repository is called Notebook. Notebook will contain all your personal info, location, calendar and contacts. It’ll also be able to track your behavior. Additionally, the user will be able to allow the app to access apps to collect specific data. Let’s say you’re expecting an email. Cortana will automatically let you know when the specified keyword matches the one within the email that you’ve received.
It’s also speculated that Microsoft will open up its virtual assistant to be accessed by third-party apps, which will be great if really implemented. The important thing to note here is that Cortana will replace the existing Bing Search.
Cortana’s supposed to debut at this year’s BUILD conference and given that Microsoft has blocked searching ability in the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK leads us to believe that all of this will soon be a reality.
Do you own a Windows Phone? Are you looking to the WP8.1 update? What do you expect from Cortana? Leave us your comments in the section below!