Halo Siri — Meet Microsoft’s New Voice Assistant, Cortana

Talk to me, Siri

It might still be a tiny player in the smartphone market, but Microsoft is keen to build on recent successes by releasing a next-gen mobile OS, featuring a Siri-like voice assistant feature.

Windows Phone 8.1 will reportedly launch next April at the company’s Build conference — according to “sources familar with Microsoft’s plans”.

The latest arrival to the voice assistant pool currently occupied by Siri and Google Now apparently goes by the name “Cortana” (after the AI character from the Halo series) and will replace the Bing search currently on Windows Phone devices.

Windows Phone 8.1 reportedly also features an iOS-style notification center, accessible by swiping down from the top of the screen. A short swipe will access the “Quick Settings” menu, while a longer one enables the drop-down notifications menu.

Nokia supposedly has two phones lined up for shipping following the announcement, apparently codenamed Goldfinger and Moneypenny after the James Bond characters.

Either that or it’s Microsoft acknowledging that it’s best thought of as a relic from another decade.

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About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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