The geeks of mobile, and especially the Windows Phone fans, are eagerly awaiting Microsoft's Cortana voice-controlled assistant
. That's not only because it will finally be an answer to Google Now and Apple's Siri, so their friends with iPhones or Android handsets will have one less reason to brag, but also because Microsoft is big in artificial intelligence, voice recognition and simultaneous translation research.
Cortana, claims the source, will be voice-overed by Jen Taylor, who does the accent of the same character in the Halo franchise. It is also coming to the Bing app in iOS, Xbox One consoles, and, naturally, to Windows 9 "Threshold", when it hits your computer next spring. That's the timeframe also for Cortana to reach countries other than the US, as it will apparently launch in beta stateside only for this year. Some sample questions it will answer are below, evidently you will be able to make small talk, like with Google's or Apple's virtual assistants: