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Cortana finally hits the UK in beta form

Cortana is landing in the UK this week, in beta form at least, with an all-new accent and personality.

There’s been plenty of rumour and hear-say about when Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant would finally hit the UK, but now it’s finally confirmed. The Windows Phone 8.1 Update for developers is being pushed out this week and it includes the UK beta for Cortana, complete with a personality and speech overhaul.

Cortana hits uk in Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 Beta for developers

The Windows Phone update will be made available to developers this week and can be downloaded via the usual update mechanism if you’re registered and have the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers installed. However, us poor consumers will have to wait longer to play with the all-new British Cortana, with Microsoft’s ‘coming months’ estimate distressingly vague.

If you’re far too impatient for this waiting malarkey, you can head to Microsoft’s website to register as a developer. It’s free to do, and then all you need to do is sign in with your Microsoft account and install the Preview for Developers app from the Windows Phone store. That’s your gateway to the brand new features, but of course there may be some funny quirks at the moment, as it’s all for testing/development purposes.

All-new British Cortana

Microsoft has revealed some of the British Cortana’s updates, pointing out that her spelling has been corrected to add U’s back in where they belong. Apparently her voice has also been changed to a more ‘local’ accent. By local, we assume she’s going to sound like the Queen, not like Cheryl Cole.

We’ve also been told that her personality has been ‘tweaked to be more locally relevant’. So presumably she’ll butt in every twenty minutes to complain about the piss poor public transport, and direct you to the nearest Greggs come lunch time.

As well as the UK Cortana, this new Windows Phone update brings live folders (each folder will still show the live tiles of its contained apps right there on your desktop), a Store live tile, and Apps Corner. There’s also some enhanced security shenanigans.

Are you glad us Brits will be getting an all-new Cortana, or will you miss those sultry American tones? Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy this short ad of Cortana ripping on Siri.


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