Posts with tag Cortana

I'm going to make it call me Chief

Microsoft bringing Cortana to Windows 9 “Threshold”


Microsoft made a splash with Cortana when Windows Phone 8.1 finally launched a couple of months ago, and after months of testing people have gotten a pretty good idea of how accurate and useful Microsoft’s Siri alternative truly is – and as it turns out, Cortana is actually pretty impressive. It should come as little surprise then that Microsoft is working on bringing its Cortana Personal Assistant  to the next major version of Windows, Codename “Threshold”, which will likely be named Windows 9 upon its release in 2015. According to Neowin, who has provided accurate information in the past, current development builds of Windows Threshold actually do have placeholders for Cortana, however it has yet to be fully realized in the most recent builds.

Rumor has it Microsoft will integrate Cortana deeply into the core of the operating system, as opposed to acting as just a separate application that runs on top of the operating system. Microsoft currently takes a similar approach to Cortana in Windows Phone 8.1. Windows Threshold is rumored to be announced later this year at an upcoming Special Event alongside an early Developer Preview of the operating system and will be home to a significant reworking of the way Windows currently works and looks. Recent rumors indicate that Microsoft is killing off the much loathed Charms bar in Threshold while also bringing native support for virtual desktops – a feature that has been in most Linux distributions and Mac OS X for quite some time now.

Recently leaked screenshots have also revealed that Microsoft has reimplemented a newly redesigned version of the Start Menu in Windows Threshold, which seems to be a monster mash between the Windows 7-era Start Menu and the Windows 8 Start Screen. Recently opened applications are seen on the left side of the Start Menu while the right is dominated by live updating tiles, which users could presumably pin for easy access to glanceable information.


Finally bringing Windows Phone up to par

Review: Windows Phone 8.1

win81In the Microsoft camp, much excitement has been created over Windows Phone 8.1 and for good reason. Many improvements have been made to Windows Phone including adding new features that have been missing since the very beginning. These new features also help give Windows Phone a fighting chance against its iOS and Android competition.

So let’s find out just what it is that’s got the Microsoft guys so excited. The review, as always, starts after the break.

Cortana, what's new?

Microsoft officially announces Windows Phone 8.1


As expected, Microsoft has officially announced Windows Phone 8.1 on stage at the BUILD opening keynote speech today. Although Windows Phone 8.1 has been designated as a minor point upgrade, in actuality Windows Phone 8.1 is a large upgrade to the platform, bringing some of the most commonly requested features and bits of functionality into Microsoft’s floundering mobile phone platform.

While we’ve seen a lot of this before already, the biggest bit of new news came from Windows Phone’s Cortana functionality. Cortana, for those who don’t know, is Microsoft’s take on an intellectual voice assistant on Windows, akin to Siri on Apple iOS and Google Now on Android.

Cortana is incredibly intelligent, keeping track of a held conversation in a way that Siri for example has yet to truly grasp – commands can be treated as sort of threads, so if you say “What’s the weather in Boston, MA?” for example, you can amend that in the next command by saying something like “What’s that in Kelvin?” – for you scientists who just need to know what the weather’s like in Kelvin.


Meanwhile, Cortana can also keep reminders outside the Cortana UI itself. Ask Cortana to remind you to tell your wife something, and a reminder will pop up next time you text, call, or Skype with your wife. It’s very smart, and a welcome addition to the voice assistant family – something I hope will make its way to some competitor’s platforms before long.

Other than Cortana, Windows Phone 8.1 provides several other impressive new features. There’s a new lock screen customization UI that allows developers to create unique new lock screen designs. Picking up the personalization trend and running with it, Microsoft has also integrated a sort of unique wallpaper support in the platform that allows you to transplant images onto live tiles. It’s kind of odd, but it creates some unique and interesting customization options.

Microsoft has also integrated Internet Explorer 11 support into Windows Phone 8.1, as well as a bunch of other updates to integrated applications, such as Settings and Calendar. The keyboard has been updated to allow for Swype-like usage with swiping instead of tapping on the individual letters. Windows Phone 8.1 is slated to ship to new phones beginning in April, and will ship as an update to existing Windows Phone 8 devices (we hope) in the “next couple of months.” Good luck.

Let's wait for //BUILD/ 2014

Rumour: Windows Phone 8.1 to include notification centre and Siri-like assistant

Nokia-Lumia-520From within the halls of Redmond come a couple of Windows Phone 8.1 rumours that we’ve heard of before: the notification center and the Siri-like assistant, codenamed “Cortana” after the assistant in Halo. Microsoft is currently testing Windows Phone 8.1 privately and it sounds as if these features have been integrated into Windows Phone and not just test apps as we’ve seen earlier.

The new notification center will be implemented similar to how it is on Android or iOS – that is, you make a long swipe in from the top of the screen to access it. A short swipe off the top of the screen will trigger a quick settings panel which presumably lets one toggle settings such as screen rotation, airplane mode, volume settings, etc.

Cortana is set to replace the existing Bing Search and can be interacted with speech or text. Acting similarly to Google Now or Siri, it will learn from the things you do with your phone to help better get the information you want, and will also feature conversation interaction which begs the question: What will Cortana say if you ask about the best place to hide a body? Silliness aside, Cortana will also remind you about upcoming appointments ala Google Now.

Other changes coming in Windows Phone 8.1 include multiple volume profiles and Bing Smart Search to bring Windows 8.1-style search to the phone. Enterprise people are also in luck as the update finally brings VPN support. There’s also a bit of separation going on, as the Music+Videos hub will be splitting into two separate apps named — you guessed it — Xbox Music and Xbox Video. The People hub is also getting some extensions with deeper Twitter and Facebook integration.

Microsoft is believed to be talking about Windows Phone 8.1 come //BUILD/ 2014. Will we see a Windows Phone 8.1 release through the Preview for Developers program? We will see in the coming months.

Source: The Verge

"Wake up, John"

Cortana comes to life, to bring voice assisant to Windows Phone 8

Cortana, Master Chief’s sassy sidekick in the Halo franchise, isn’t merely a piece of good fiction anymore, it’s real life. Leaked images and information has revealed that Microsoft is working on bringing mobile voice assistant technology, popularized by Apple’s Siri technology and improved on by Google’s Google Now service found on Android, to Windows Phone under the Cortana name.


Cortana is said to work exactly as you’d expect – open  up the app on your Windows Phone device, an naturally tell it what you want or are looking for. You’ll be able to set alarms, search the web for information, read notifications and calendar events, etc. and so forth all over a natural voice control.

The service will likely come to Windows Phone users with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 “Blue” update, which we covered yesterday. So for all you Windows Phone users feeling left out, get ready – Cortana is coming.

Via: The Verge
Source: ZDNet