Cortana

“Invoke” could be Harman Kardon’s Cortana-powered speaker

“Invoke” could be Harman Kardon’s Cortana-powered speaker

The personal assistant war has long moved from smartphones to smart homes the day Amazon launched its Echo speaker and introduced Alexa to the world. Pretty soon, Google followed with its Home (not Gnome) and Google Assistant and soon, Microsoft will do likewise with Cortana. That device has already been teased before to bear Harman Kardon's brand but very little else. Now some more details are falling into place courtesy of leaks, including a rather unusual but still totally generic name: Invoke.

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Cortana comes to Android lock screens and Australia

Cortana comes to Android lock screens and Australia

In just a few days, Samsung will finally be showing what its own Bixby personal assistant is truly capable of, but not before Microsoft has had a chance to cement the position of its own. Cortana is gaining a few new abilities, at least on Android. And to make sure more people will be able to bridge their smartphones and their Windows 10 PCs, Microsoft is making Cortana officially available in Australia, both on Android as well as on iOS.

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Microsoft’s Cortana challenges Siri with revamped iPhone app

Microsoft’s Cortana challenges Siri with revamped iPhone app

iPhone owners are probably most accustomed to using Siri for their voice-powered assistant needs, seeing as how well it's integrated with iOS. However, along with Google, Microsoft's Cortana is looking to make itself a serious alternative on Apple's platform, and the latest update brings it closer to matching iOS's native option. Released on Friday, the new Cortana for iPhone app has been overhauled with a new interface, and includes several new features that make it easier to use.

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Cortana suggested reminders keep track of your email obligations

Cortana suggested reminders keep track of your email obligations

Microsoft has announced the arrival of suggested reminders in Windows 10 via Cortana, its personal assistant. With this feature, Cortana mines your email to find any mentions of obligations or promises to deliver something by a certain time or date. When it finds such a promise, Cortana will prompt you with a suggested reminder about that item, ensuring you don't forget to follow through.

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This is Microsoft’s wish-list for 2017 Windows PCs

This is Microsoft’s wish-list for 2017 Windows PCs

Microsoft is plotting a big Windows 10 push for 2017, and in order for it to succeed, the company will need the help of its OEM and ODM partners. A big part of this seems to be convincing consumers to upgrade to a more modern PC that offers support for Windows 10 features that may not be available in older machines. At its WinHEC 2016 conference in Shenzen last December, Microsoft outlined its vision for the modern PC, and it just recently made the video of that presentation available online.

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Microsoft puts Cortana on Android lockscreens

Microsoft puts Cortana on Android lockscreens

Microsoft is looking to put Cortana front and center on Android, as a new update will add the AI assistant to your lockscreen. The update is currently in beta, so while it isn't available to all users yet, it should be arriving sometime in the next few weeks. Of course, if you're a beta tester for the Cortana app, you can get this extra functionality right now, but everyone else will have to wait.

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Eight things AI assistants need to improve on

Eight things AI assistants need to improve on

HTC's announcement of its U Ultra and U Play phones, and consequently the revelation of its Sense Companion, may have you cringing at yet another AI-powered, disembodied, virtual assistant. But HTC's spiel has a nugget of sense. AI agents today are so bright they can tell jokes or even hold conversation, whether with humans or with each other. But when it comes to actually assisting us humans to get things done, they're not that smart yet and need more than a little nudging to work. If these assistants are to be the way we interact with our devices, our homes, and our digital selves, they need to be able to do a bit more, and soon. Here are some things these virtual secretaries and butlers need to be able to do in order to really make a significant impact in our modern lived. Not all of them even require substantial advancements in artificial intelligence.

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Microsoft unveils Azure-based cloud platform for connected vehicles

Microsoft unveils Azure-based cloud platform for connected vehicles

At CES 2017 on Friday, Microsoft announced its latest plan to get involved in cars and their technology. No, the company isn't making its own autonomous vehicle like everyone else seems to be doing these days. Instead it's Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform, a cloud system built on the Azure platform that will power connected cars and their growing number of services. Along with things like navigation and "in-car productivity," it will be used to bring Cortana to the road.

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Hey Cortana, tell me about Nissan’s CES 2017 keynote

Hey Cortana, tell me about Nissan’s CES 2017 keynote

Cars are getting smarter, either with the help of tether or paired smartphone or by themselves. Some car makers have flocked to Apple's CarPlay while others have jumped on Google's Android Auto. The one major platform maker that seems to be missing out, however, is Microsoft. If Nissan's teaser is any indication, however, that might be changing on Thursday. To remind people about its CES 2017 keynote, Nissan has sought the marketing help of Cortana, and Microsoft, of course, hinting that there might be a big reveal coming up.

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Cortana in Creators Update: clipboard, notification sync

Cortana in Creators Update: clipboard, notification sync

Siri might be the oldest player in the personal assistant game and Alexa might be the new darling, but Microsoft's Cortana has one thing the others, even the new Google Assistant, don't. It's available on multiple platforms and devices, including Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Android, and iOS. In the upcoming Creators Update for Windows 10 next year, Microsoft will take advantage Cortana's cross-platform abilities to bring at least three new features to the platform, including a universal and improved notifications across devices.

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Cortana for Windows IoT means trouble for Alexa, Assistant

Cortana for Windows IoT means trouble for Alexa, Assistant

Amazon’s Alexa is one of those unexpected, but for some, pleasant, surprises in the tech industry. At first, barely anyone knew what to make of the shopping assistant that came in a nondescript but attention-grabbing black canister. Now, among the other virtual personal assistants such as Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, Alexa is the one with the most presence in other, sometimes unexpected, devices. That, however, might soon change, and it won’t be good for the competition. Microsoft has just pushed an Insider update for its Windows 10 IoT Core and it is pushing along Cortana with it.

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Cortana, Harman Kardon to take on Amazon Echo, Google Home

Cortana, Harman Kardon to take on Amazon Echo, Google Home

If you thought Amazon and Google were the only ones battling out in the still niche smart living room speaker arena, Microsoft would beg to differ. Just as it poised Cortana as the cross-platform smart assistant to beat, it is now also positioning her/it to be the cross-device smart assistant to challenge them all. That means Cortana in your desktop/laptop, tablet, smartphone, Xbox One, and, yes, smart living room speaker. And to accomplish that, it has enlisted the help of famed audio masters Harman Kardon.

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