Video game inspired artificial intelligence assistant part of Microsoft's broader plan
Microsoft has broader ambitions for its Windows Phone voice-enabled assistant "Cortana." As part of an upcoming initiative slated for later in this year, not only will the voice recognition technology arrive on the desktop with Windows 10, it will also be seen on Android and iOS as a standalone app, according to Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research. The company had previously given a vague suggestion that it would come to alternative operating systems, but no details were provided until now.
Changes in appearance, new apps shown in latest Windows 10 build
More leaks for Windows 10 have surfaced, ahead of an event planned to show off the Microsoft operating system on January 21st. The latest leak of build 9901 includes a more refined design for the Cortana virtual assistant than in previous reports, with the changes accompanied by a number of other tweaks and small changes to the Windows interface.
Desktop version of Cortana has similar functionality to Windows Phone version
The rumored desktop version of Microsoft's virtual assistant has allegedly resurfaced in video. A clip appears to show Cortana being used on a new build of Windows 10, and though some aspects are apparently non-functional, the video seemingly demonstrates how it could be used to contact other people, create appointments, and handle reminders.
Microsoft brings Cortana to France, Germany, Italy, Spain
Microsoft is bringing the Cortana virtual assistant to more countries in Europe. An update as part of the Windows Phone Developer Preview Program rolling out today will grant access to Cortana in France, Italy, Germany, and Spain. Released as an alpha version, Microsoft warns many of the advanced features will not be available, such as flight tracking and some reference data, but the team is working to add localized content for each language, along with a slightly tailored personality.
Windows Phone virtual assistant could appear in desktop Windows release
Cortana, Microsoft's voice-controlled virtual assistant from Windows Phone 8.1, may appear in the final retail release of Windows 10, according to a report. Though it was not demonstrated during the Windows launch event yesterday, it is claimed Microsoft is actively testing the feature in internal builds of the operating system.
Cortana issues public transport notifications, local concert suggestions
Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, has been updated with two event-related changes. WMPU reports the service will now show notifications for when a user's favorite music acts are performing nearby under "Concert Watch," while WP Central notes users in the US and UK can now benefit from public transport notifications, including delays, outages, and advising of the best time to head to an appointment or event.
Update to Windows Phone introduces Live Folders, improved Xbox Music app
Microsoft has made the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 available to download for developers. The software update, which introduces a number of changes to the mobile operating system, can be downloaded by developers enrolled in the Windows App Studio program today, ahead of a rollout to all compatible Windows Phone smartphones in the future.
Cortana available in beta for UK, Chinese markets, alpha in Canada, India, Australia
Microsoft has formally announced its upcoming update to Windows Phone 8.1, one it will be releasing to developers next week. The GDR1 update, leaked earlier this week, introduces a number of new features and other improvements to the mobile operating system, as well as expanding the beta program for the Cortana virtual assistant to five new countries after its initial United States launch.
Google rolls out partial Material Design upgrade of Play Store app
Google has started to roll out its rumored changes to the Play Store, in an update to the Android app. Version 4.9.13 brings a number of smaller tweaks, reports Android Police, along with refreshed app and content pages which uses Google's Material Design rules, including an increased use of images and iconography. A future update is expected to roll out Material Design to other aspects of the store.
Windows Phone update to 8.1 adds Cortana, may void warranties
Windows Phone 8.1 is now available to download as a developer preview, allowing users to try out the Cortana virtual assistant on their own devices. The latest version of the mobile operating system, which Microsoft officially debuted on April 2nd at its Build conference, can be installed on smartphones owned by developers enrolled in Microsoft's Windows Phone Developer program.
Announcements spearhead start of Build developer's conference
At today's Microsoft Build developer's conference, the company has officially taken the wraps off of a major update to its mobile operating system, Windows Phone. Windows Phone 8.1 brings improvements to compatible devices, as well as the beta release of previously-rumored voice-controlled virtual assistant, Cortana.
Virtual assistant from Microsoft for Windows Phone 8.1 demonstrated
Video of what is claimed to be a virtual assistant in Windows Phone 8.1 has surfaced, showing the initial setup process. Cortana, named after the Halo character but could change before release, is shown to introduce itself to the user, asking for the user to set up their Microsoft account, naming the user, and asking a number of questions to set up initial notification preferences.
Virtual assistant settings menu shows Notebook, name options
Images of what could be the final form of Microsoft's Siri and Google Now competitor have surfaced. Cortana, named after the AI character from the Halo video game series but could still be rebranded for launch, has been previously said to have a similar personality to Siri, though in a nod to Google Now, the basic interface for the virtual assistant appears to offer a text-based entry option to go alongside the voice recognition system.
Virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1 to offer aspects of Siri, Google Now
The virtual assistant in Windows Phone 8.1 will be a mix between Apple's Siri and Google Now, according to a report. The assistant, thought to be called "Cortana" after the AI character in the Halo video game series, will apparently replace the Bing search functionality in Windows Phone, and will use data from services such as Foursquare and Bing to give it Google Now-style contextual awareness.
Windows Phone virtual assistant could offer suggestions from Foursquare
Microsoft will use data from Foursquare in its rumored virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, thanks to a $15 million investment in the company, according to a report. The location data gleaned from Foursquare will apparently be put to use in "Cortana," a virtual assistant named after the artificial intelligence character from the Halo series of games.