Microsoft's Windows Phone assistant is actually called Cortana

Cortana will be coming to US Windows Phones first as a beta. Enough to tempt you away from iOS and Android?

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Microsoft has officially unveiled its own answer Siri and Google Now for Windows Phone 8.1, and the rumours were true: it is genuinely called Cortana.

Cortana was introduced today by Microsoft's Joe Belfiore onstage at the company's annual Build conference in San Francisco, with the character named--just in case you don't already know--after Master Chief's AI partner from the Halo series.

The voice of Cortana sounded like it was being provided by voice actress Jen Taylor, who also lends her vocal chords to the character in the games. If it wasn't Taylor, it sounded like a particularly uncanny impression.

"Cortana is powered by [Microsoft search engine] Bing," added Belfiore. I'm not sure how 343 Industries is going to write that into Halo 5, mind.

Cortana on Windows Phone can perform many of the features that we've come to expect from these types of services, such as setting appointments and searching the web. One of Cortana's unique points, however, is that it can understand and answer follow-up questions: the app answered "How about in celsius?" after responding to the initial question of what the weather was like in Las Vegas.

In a bit of typical on-stage banter, Belfiore also asked Cortana "what's the story for the next Halo game?"

The answer? "I'm quite certain you don't have proper security clearance for that information." Drat.

Cortana will be released first as a beta in the US, and the service will reach the UK and China shortly after the full launch.

Discussion

103 comments
beastmodeactive
beastmodeactive

I would love to love a Windows phone....but I just can't.

DeadrisingX1
DeadrisingX1

Since it's Microsoft, why not just call it HAL?

amirlpro
amirlpro

Windows Phone is already dead, I see no reason for any user to invest in an OS with such a weak app market.

It's a good OS but MS just came too late.

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

Tsk, tsk Martin... "vocal cords"


And if I could be bothered with such a gimmick, I'd much rather it were GLaDOS.

tendoboy1984
tendoboy1984

I got a Lumia 810 when I first signed up with T-Mobile last year. The phone's charger port broke a few months ago, so I returned it and bought a Moto G. Now all this WP 8.1 awesomeness is making me want a new Lumia even more.

The best part is APPS TO SD IS OFFICIALLY SUPPORTED! Your move Google!

Scalds
Scalds

I've had a windows phone for the last two years (which I absolutely love) so I would get this no matter the voice.


But I gotta say, I am really looking even more forward to her telling me:

"I do know how to pick em."

"Did you miss me?"

"You look nice."

"C'mon Chief, take a girl for a ride."

DrKill09
DrKill09

Microsoft stole that logo from The Germs.

ACMC85
ACMC85

She's the only reason I am interested in this.

Lhomity
Lhomity

I think I'd be happier with EDI.

razor_rj
razor_rj

If it is just a disembodied voice then no, not interested, i want her as one of those erotic screensaveers

ahpuck
ahpuck

Microsoft, always following the leaders. Microsoft has been asleep at the wheel for the last decade, it's time for them to wake up and do something worth talking about before they become more irrelevant.

soupormanjbl
soupormanjbl

I'm kinda looking forward to this tbhj. I really like my Windows phone.

teller76567
teller76567

Wow...trying to get people back to the farm...bing is such a joke in other news Titanfall for the 360 has been pushed back wont release in north america tell the 8th of April and in the u.k on the 11th of April. I'm getting tired of Microsoft and and E.A's cow shit...

walmonger
walmonger

Idiots, April fools only on the 1st April.

What? This isn't a joke. ha ha, made me laugh though.

obsequies
obsequies

cute but its still a siri rip off powered by bing. Guessing it will be more like google now than siri

SphinxDemon
SphinxDemon

I wonder if it would be possible to transfer cortana to my galaxy s4...

funkyzoom
funkyzoom

I would have preferred a way to select a male or female voice. I would definitely have chosen a male voice, because I can't risk myself falling in love with this AI (not really, but sill) just like the protagonist of the movie 'Her'! :P

StryfeBringer
StryfeBringer

"Cortana is powered by [Microsoft search engine] Bing,"  I think that's all that needs to be said.

Phoenix_Snake
Phoenix_Snake

I'm an iPhone user and I think this is something pretty cool for Windows Phone to have.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

Actually kind of cool. But not enough to get me away from my Android Galaxy S.

Nope, nope, nope.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

Regardless of what it might be referencing, I think Cortana is a stupid name for such a service..

Bellum_Sacrum
Bellum_Sacrum

That's potentially even sadder than animu waifus.

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

I do want me phone to respond in Cortana's voice... for all the wrong reasons.

linfo28
linfo28

Finally, a reason to get a windows phone!

tendoboy1984
tendoboy1984

Yawn. Take your Xbox hate somewhere else.

shinjuki
shinjuki

@ahpuck


>become more irrelevant


At what time in the past 40 years has Microsoft been irrelevant? lol

tendoboy1984
tendoboy1984

Galaxy phones are cheaply made hunks of plastic with tons of bloatware and a laggy Touchsense UI.

I'd pick an HTC One over a Galaxy any day.

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

@StryfeBringer  Typically when I'm using search I'll go to Google, but sometimes I forgot to change my search bar defaults and end up using Bing.  I usually can't tell the difference results-wise.

chippiez
chippiez

@linfo28  Windows Phone is the bomb unless you like tons of shovelware crap games trying to charge you 99$ for smurfberries.  It's got it in all the right places.  My Lumia 1520 has an amazing screen, is easy to use, tons of features, fantastic camera and the best battery life of any smartphone I've ever owned.  Try one yourself and you'll become a convert, I bet.  This ain't your grandpas Windows Mobile 6 or 7.  I haven't missed my SIII since.  And I definitely don't miss the iPhone I ditched for the SIII...  Microsoft knows they have to delivery so much bang for the buck on mobile if they want to stand a chance.  So give them a chance, break up the monopoly of the guys who want to do nothing but sell you ads.

console_war_vet
console_war_vet

@linfo28 A voice assistant is a "system seller?" I've always seen it as more of a gimmick that I'll probably only use a few times, but whatever floats your boat. Windows Phone is great. Love my Lumia 920!

funkyzoom
funkyzoom

@thissonicboom

Well...the movie was a bit slow-moving, but I didn't really find it boring. In fact, it offers a scary preview of the things to come in the future, especially since the present day women have unrealistic expectations from a potential partner.  Its quite unlikely for any common man to be able to meet those expectations, so it is very much a possibility that a couple of generations down the line, men have no choice but to fall in love with a female AI, just like in the movie.

console_war_vet
console_war_vet

@chibi-acer @StryfeBringer That's what is so sad about the Bing hate. It gives you largely the same results as Google, yet Bing seems like a swear word to most people. I personally prefer the way search results are displayed and categorized with Bing.

walmonger
walmonger

@chippiez @linfo28  Your last line blew away any chance you had of converting people. Micrososft are the worst company ever for trying to sell you ads. It's all they do. 

kevin_bradley1
kevin_bradley1

@console_war_vet @linfo28  You will use it more than you think, if you give it a chance. I'm an iPhone user (not being a fanboy, hear me out) and use Siri for setting alarms and timers, checking the weather, and sending text messages while driving so I don't have to look away from the road, as well as voice dialing and playing tunes in the car. If you drive much, it's very useful. 

obsequies
obsequies

@TimberWolf_CLT @obsequies @FLEEBS @PlatinumPaladin  well having a longer name only because of an image is counter productive for use. Thats if you ever have to use it's name.

cdrjohnshepard
cdrjohnshepard

@walmonger @chippiez@linfo28 I believe chippiez was referencing the fact that Google makes almost all their revenue from ads: that is their business. Microsoft sells products and services. They even sold one of their ad platforms not long ago. At this point, ads make up an almost nonexistent fraction of their business approach.

console_war_vet
console_war_vet

@kevin_bradley1 @console_war_vet@linfo28 I've honestly never seen Siri being used in a legitimate manner. Most friends and family with iPhones just try to get "her" to say lewd things. I'm still super excited for 8.1. I hope the carriers don't drag their feet on getting it out.