Must Read Bits & Bytes

Cortana hands-on: Windows Phone 8.1′s smart assistant

Cortana hands-on: Windows Phone 8.1′s smart assistant

The iPhone has Siri, Android has Google Now, and now Windows Phone has Cortana, Microsoft's new digital assistant for smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1. Launching as a beta when WP8.1 hits devices over the next few months, Cortana blends the speech-first approach of Apple's system with the contextual backbone of Google's, throwing in some location-based cleverness and a little AI snark along the way. We introduced ourselves at Build 2014.

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Amazon Fire TV detailed: set-top box of simplicity

Amazon Fire TV detailed: set-top box of simplicity

Today Amazon’s Peter Limp stood on stage to speak about why Amazon’s services need revamping on the variety of streaming devices they’re already pushed to today. Instead of focusing on Amazon’s services specifically, Limp suggested that devices like Roku, Apple TV, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 needed a push in the "Search" direction for content.

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Microsoft Build 2014 is here: What to expect

Microsoft Build 2014 is here: What to expect

Microsoft's Build 2014 opens tomorrow, April 2nd, a chance for new CEO Satya Nadella to not only convince developers and the industry that his "mobile first, cloud first" strategy makes sense, but that Microsoft has the skills to deliver on it. After impressing with the Office for iPad launch, Nadella has a far bigger audience to preach The Windows Way to at Build, though there are plenty of balls in the air that he still needs to keep moving.

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Apple “is great, but they don’t own everything” Samsung says as trial begins

Apple “is great, but they don’t own everything” Samsung says as trial begins

Apple and Samsung have begun their opening statements at the latest patent infringement case in San Jose, with Samsung already insisting that, while it respects its rival, it can't allow it to take responsibility for every innovation in mobile. The case, a return to the courtroom for the two behemoths after attempts at mediating a settlement failed earlier this year, sees Apple demanding $2bn from Samsung, or the equivalent of around $40 per handset.

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Google Ara could be a real-life Tricorder

Google Ara could be a real-life Tricorder

Google's Project Ara modular smartphone could well end up a real-life Tricorder of sorts, with medical uses for the customizable handset now on the agenda for the first Ara developers conference. Exactly which modules Google will offer for Ara - magnetically snapping into place on an underlying backplane - has not been detailed, though a new speaker addition to the inaugural developer event from MIT suggests it could be more than just extra batteries and different cameras.

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iPhone 6 4.7″ and 5.5″ display May production tipped

iPhone 6 4.7″ and 5.5″ display May production tipped

Two sizes of display for Apple's iPhone 6 are tipped to go into mass production from May, insiders in the company's supply chain claim, with first a 4.7-inch and then a 5.5-inch touchscreen on the cards for the next-gen handset. Chatter of an increase in screen size from the 4-inch panel used on the iPhone 5s has circulated some time, with Apple said to be weighing the competitive benefits of challenging larger Android devices against its preference for smaller phones that can be more readily used single-handed.

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