Cortana

Windows Phone 8.1 update to bring Cortana to more markets

Windows Phone 8.1 update to bring Cortana to more markets

Yesterday we saw some of the new features coming to Windows Phone devices by way of the first update to version 8.1. Now we're being given a more detailed look at some of those features, including some that we haven't heard about yet. Primary among this is that Cortana, Microsoft's own virtual personal assistant, will be making her (or its) maiden voyage outside the US, primarily to China and the UK.

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Microsoft smacks Siri in Cortana comparison ad

Microsoft smacks Siri in Cortana comparison ad

Microsoft may be playing catch-up with Windows Phone, but it clearly believes it has an ace in the hole with Cortana, pitting it against Siri in a new commercial. The ad isn't quite a side-by-side comparison, rather Microsoft's attempt to highlight exactly what a Windows Phone 8.1 device with its virtual assistant can do that an iPhone's counterpart service can't.

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Cortana on iOS or Android re-denied by Microsoft

Cortana on iOS or Android re-denied by Microsoft

This past week we saw a question and answer session with Microsoft which resulted in a slightly misunderstood bit of information being spread. As it turns out, Microsoft is not necessarily planning on releasing Cortana to any platform other than their own: Windows Phone and possibly Windows. Instead, Cortana needs to have a far more solid experience at home before any push beyond their borders, so says Microsoft.

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Microsoft exploring cross-platform Cortana potential

Microsoft exploring cross-platform Cortana potential

Microsoft is considering extending its Cortana from Windows Phone to other platforms like iOS and Android, as it explores the value of a more ubiquitous digital personal assistant. The voice-controlled interface, revealed as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 developers preview, uses a mixture of specific user requests and contextual data like calendar entries, previous browsing history, and location to make smartphones running Microsoft's OS more personable and useful.

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Nanabot to turn Windows Phone into robot brain

Nanabot to turn Windows Phone into robot brain

Windows Phone may not be the first platform you think about for robotics, but one developer is hoping to change all that with WowWee RoboMe integration putting Microsoft's speech recognition engine behind the wheel. Built around the same underlying technology that gives Windows Phone 8.1's Cortana digital assistant her brains and her voice, the Nanabot is intended more for play than for organizing your calendar.

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Windows Phone 8.1 Review (Developer Preview)

Windows Phone 8.1 Review (Developer Preview)

Windows Phone 8.1 is no point update. In fact, if it wasn’t so keen on keeping in naming step with Windows on the desktop, Microsoft could probably have called its new smartphone OS version something more impressive: what started out as an aim to bring the virtual assistant Cortana and the useful Action Center to the platform blossomed in the process to include a whole flurry of tweaks and additions. Question is, has Windows Phone kept its crisp, clean charms while still gaining abilities? We’ve been in deep with the Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview; read on for our impressions.

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Windows in the Car to put Cortana in the dashboard

Windows in the Car to put Cortana in the dashboard

Apple has CarPlay, Google has the Android Open Automotive Alliance, and now Microsoft has Windows in the Car, its own take on piping smartphone content from your Windows Phone directly to the dashboard. Quietly demonstrated at Build 2014 this past week, in concept form at least, Windows in the Car pares back the standard Windows Phone interface to suit center console touchscreens and safer use while on the move thanks to features like Cortana.

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Kinect in focus: Xbox’s app chief talks Smart Homes & Cortana

Kinect in focus: Xbox’s app chief talks Smart Homes & Cortana

When you have a product like Kinect, so closely associated with gaming, how do you convince everybody else that they should be installing a motion-tracking camera in the home? Microsoft is looking to smart home technology and health, among other things, to do just that with Kinect for Windows v2, though a stealthy spread through Cortana and smartphones may be just as vital. We caught up with Microsoft’s Michael Mott, general manager of Xbox applications and developer relations, to find out how virtual assistants and home automation could make Kinect-tech the next must-have.

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Windows Phone 8.1 Highlights: Hands-on

Windows Phone 8.1 Highlights: Hands-on

Windows Phone 8.1's most memorable feature may be Cortana, its Halo-themed personal digital assistant, but the chatty Siri-rival isn’t the only change Microsoft has brought with the new version. Greater customization potential, better control over settings, and improved integration of Skype and third-party services are all incoming. We spent some hands-on time with Windows Phone 8.1 to find out what's special.

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