Windows Phone's “Cortana” to compete with Siri and Google Now

Windows Phone's “Cortana” to compete with Siri and Google Now

Talk of Microsoft and its ambitious plans for a digital assistant that will rival iOS' Siri and Android's Google Now is not something new. Quite the opposite, actually, we've been getting hints, on and off, since 2011. The reason for the delay is that the software giant wants to hold off rushing into the space – Microsoft wants it to be truly revolutionary. Of course, a statement like that does sound better than admitting that the idea has been riddled with numerous delays and reiterations of the software, but we'll have to wait to see which one it is.

Luckily for Windows Phone fanciers, the current status-quo is, reportedly, about to change, and soon. According to ZDNet, among others, Microsoft's Siri-like assistant will be called Cortana, the AI you're sure to remember if you have played Halo. The first few clues left behind by Microsoft were discovered in a Nokia Lumia 920, bought off eBay, which for some reason ran on a developer build of Windows Phone 8.1. Said build had a 'zCortanaApp' loaded, where the 'z' in front indicates that it's an early experimental version.

According to ZDNet's Mary Foley, Cortana will be at the core of a new “service-enabled shell” for Microsoft platforms, something that then CEO Steve Ballmer talked about in his July memo on Microsoft's reorganization. The idea is that Microsoft wants Cortana to do more than simply what we've come to expect from virtual assistants:

Ambitious. That is, if Cortana actually makes the cut and, indeed, makes an appearance in GDR3 – the next major WP update.

source: ZDNet, TheVerge, Microsoft



1. Penywyz

Posts: 255; Member since: Aug 13, 2013

Being a massive Halo fan this is epic. If they use the same voice actor from the video games, and bring along the app support I'm sold.

7. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

WP is surely growing by the day. I'm not sure if the older version of Lumias will support it but it feels like Microsoft was waiting to acquire Nokia and then hit it with everything they've got. I believe there's more coming.

13. 1v1addict

Posts: 17; Member since: Jan 16, 2013


21. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 2008


17. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Yeah I have to agree. This is pretty cool. This is the coolest feature on WP period. How long until Android gets a crack at this. I would love my Google Now to sound like Cortana, for sure. +1

18. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2361; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

It does look like a very cool feature and one that I can say I'm very excited to see the end result. Over a year ago I commented on this site that I wanted to see a voice assistant UI similar to something like a 343 Guilty Spark (what can I say? I'm a fan of the little blue hovering orb). Even though this isn't exactly that, I'm still very excited to see a voice assistant UI that people are familiar with and would enjoy listening to.

19. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Exactly, I would also like my Voice Assistant to sound like Optimus Prime, Lara Croft, Chubacca, (Yeah I understand him), Woodstock, Scoobie Doo & Vegeta from DBZ. Ohh and Mordecai also. lol That would be so cool, if I could change voice on the fly so I could customize yet another aspect of my phone. +1 for a GREAT POINT!

27. a_merryman

Posts: 749; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

I'm in for GlaDOS, thats all I need. I guess it would be fun to have Indiana Jones or Jack Sparrow....but I'd rather have an "AI" take over as my voice assistant, with all her snarky comments included.

20. designerfx

Posts: 76; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

nobody buys windows phones, so this doesnt' mean much.

28. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2350; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Cool story bro

2. makoskn

Posts: 4; Member since: Sep 12, 2013

You have caught my attention Microsoft now please make this happen!

3. CardiWPfan

Posts: 129; Member since: Sep 12, 2012

Exactly, what I was going to bring up!! You beat me to that request my friend. Step aside Google and Apple, this is what competition is all about. If Microsoft is going to do what I think it is going to do. This is going to be EPIC!! SHUT UP AND BRING ON CORTANA ALREADY!!

4. SonyXperiaNexus

Posts: 374; Member since: Oct 01, 2012

cool, cortana sounds cooler than Google now and siri, I hope it works just as good, windowsphone needs all the features and apps it can get

5. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Nerdgasm. I probably wouldn't use it but that would be a great way to capture the attention of any HALO fan. Best of all, gamers are not averse to spending money for new goodies, so it could lead to more phone sales.

6. chunk1x

Posts: 248; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

But Cortana died. So, who the hell is this? :D

11. 1v1addict

Posts: 17; Member since: Jan 16, 2013

Maybe Cortana will return, else why use a dead characters name as a new product name ?

22. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 2008

Just to keep a beloved character alive

8. MalakiMills

Posts: 257; Member since: Jun 15, 2010

Halo was the only video game I went out and picked up at midnight, if I could have cortana talk to me from my phone I might just freak out.

9. papss unregistered

Huge halo fan so this excited me very much. Way to use what you have m$

10. Sauce unregistered

Until she kills you in your sleep

12. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

I call Halo Edition Lumia...Damn, never thought I'd say this but, if the voice is even remotely like Cortana, I would buy that...for a dollar

14. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

That name is wicked awesome, but on a side note I think the need to release it as soon as next version, yeah they are trying to make it really awesome but competition is not standing still, they are getting lots of feedback and adding features based on such feedback thus improving the current version of Google now and siri (at least Google now is about 10 times better than it used to be, and with the 800 allowing a always listen and a7 chip dedicated processor could mean better siri eventually) they need it fast

15. MojoDojo

Posts: 102; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Its not coming in the GDR3 update, but in WP 8.1 aka "Blue".

16. tedkord

Posts: 17356; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Then CEO?

23. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 2008

This would be amazing. Good quad core for speed and cloud computing for natural language. Integrated in windows 8, and Xbox one through Kinect and ill be a slave

24. volcano

Posts: 348; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

+100000 for cortana i hope its more intelligent assistant than siri or google now

25. a_merryman

Posts: 749; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

I still want Apple or Google to release a voice pack that sounds like GladOS for theirs. Thats not too much I think.

26. Timmehor

Posts: 599; Member since: Mar 09, 2013

Why Cortana? Not to wreck the fun, but it sounds like a horrible brand name, ugh, keep it in Halo, not Windows Phone

29. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2350; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Nicee.. very good.. and i will like mine, to sound like a , porn actress,, she'll be like "today is sunny, with a slight chance of horny" in a sexy tone :-D hahaa

30. Synack

Posts: 688; Member since: Jul 05, 2011

First command I would say: "Cortana, call me Chief" Now everytime an interaction would occur she would keep calling me Chief just like in Halo!

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