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What to expect from Windows Phone’s Cortana

Cortana is coming to Windows Phone, hoping to blend the benefits of Siri and Google Now for Microsoft’s mobile users.

We recently learnt that Microsoft has big plans for Windows Phone and although we’re still waiting on a clear picture the forthcoming 8.1 update will hold, one standout feature has already been making headline, Cortana.

The artificial intelligence construct from the popular Halo franchise has been touted as the basis for a new Siri-like, voice-based assistant that will grace a forthcoming update – one of the most significant in the operating system’s history. The Verge has learned additional details surrounding what Cortana will be able to offer users and the functionality it’ll boast in the hope of out-performing Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now services.

Cortana

Word of Cortana’s appearance originally emerged following the discovery of a Microsoft employee’s misplaced Windows Phone, found to be running the 8.1 update late last year. Pair this to the company’s recent investment in Foursquare’s location-based data and you can see the company’s is hoping to impress with the new service.

Set to replace the current Bing Search feature, Cortana will take the appearance of an animated circular icon (we’ve taken a stab at how this might look in the screen mock-ups above) that will match your phone’s theme colour. Whilst you’re interacting with it, it will move, bounce, change shape and depending on the task, display “emotion”. As with Google Now and Siri, the majority of the information Cortana will offer will comes from a myriad of sources including Bing and Foursquare.

Cortana will also be able to log and recall personal information, whether that be calendar entries, understanding who you want to call, social relationships or pulling event invitations from messages. You’ll have the option to vet what personal information Cortana can and can’t access and it’ll all be store in the Cortana Notebook. The service will also be able to pull up content surrounding stocks, mapping and music.

Are you a Windows Phone user? Have you felt the need for a Siri-like companion, or is this an unnecessary gimmick that’ll add little benefit to the existing experience. Let us know in the comments what you think.

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