Apple has Siri, Google has Google Now, and Microsoft is about to get Cortana.

When Apple and Google has their Artificial Intelligence characters on their cards, Microsoft is wandering what they’re doing on their mobile devices you know to just keep themselves in the Smartphone race. Now It’s time for Microsoft to show off. Windows Phone 8 will be succeeded by Windows Phone 8.1, which was released in preview form to developers on February 10, 2014.

A recent software development kit leak has highlighted the huge number of feature changes that will arrive in the coming months and put Windows Phone more on par with iOS and Android. One of the main feature additions is Cortana, a personal digital assistant named after Microsoft’s Halo game series.


Cortana is a fictional artificial intelligent character in the Halo video game series. It may be a holographic AI in the Halo video games, but she may soon become an important part of Microsoft’s efforts to improve its fortunes in the Smartphone market.

Now, a clearer picture is emerging of what users can expect when Cortana arrives. Cortana will appear as a “circular animated icon with the hue of your selected Windows Phone accent color, and will have a personality not dissimilar from Apple’s Siri.” Her voice, however, may sound familiar. Jen Taylor, Cortana’s voice actor in the Halo games, is reportedly providing her voice for Microsoft’s digital assistant.

This character will be backed by data from services like Bing, Foursquare, and others to give it some of the contextual power of Google Now,” added Warren. Microsoft announced on Feb. 4 that it had invested $15 million in Foursquare and inked a licensing deal with the social location service. It will then use this information to provide answers to search queries by voice or text, and provide suggestions, alerts, and reminders,” Warren said. The technology can also be used to suppress notifications and exempt an “inner circle” of contacts while do-not-disturb is enabled.

Cortana, along Siri and Google Now, may soon face competition from another tech company: Yahoo. While Yahoo has no mobile device division to speak of, the Web and online services company is reportedly working on a digital assistant of its own. The company recently made a $10 million grantto Carnegie Mellon researchers and gave them access to its real-time services to help advance the university’s In Mind mobile assistant technology.