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Briefly: Google Play Store upgrade, Cortana prepares for China launch

07/23, 5:23am

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.

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Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 developer preview available to download

04/14, 8:46am

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.

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Microsoft officially debuts Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana assistant

04/02, 12:11pm

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.

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Leaked video shows Cortana virtual assistant setup process

03/05, 5:58am

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.

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Windows Phone 8.1 'Cortana' virtual assistant leaked in images

03/03, 11:56am

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.

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Microsoft's Cortana assistant said to have Siri-like personality

02/21, 6:55am

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.

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Bloomberg: Microsoft using Foursquare data for 'Cortana' assistant

02/07, 12:04pm

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.

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