Microsoft is reportedly planning to introduce a digital assistant, much like Apple’s Siri, in a future Windows Phone 8.1 update. The feature is codenamed “Cortana,” after the Halo character who is an AI that assists the hero in the game. It’s a pretty clever name for the feature, and if you’re a Halo fan like me it probably got you excited.
As for Cortana will actually do for Windows Phone users, it will reportedly be Siri-like but it will also be capable of learning and adapting to the user over time. According to ZDNET, it will also be more than just that:
Cortana will be more than just an app that lets users interact with their phones more naturally using voice commands. Cortana is core to the makeover of the entire “shell” — the core services and experience — of the future versions of Windows Phone, Windows and the Xbox One operating systems, from what I’ve heard from my contacts.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer also said that it would be “great at responding seamlessly to what people ask for, and even anticipating what they need before they ask for it.“
Sounds like a very ambitious plan to me. But ambitious is much better than another “me-too” feature that would simply be Siri for Microsoft. If Microsoft can pull off these lofty goals, Cortana could serve as another great selling point for Windows Phone.
Oh, and Microsoft, drop the codename business. Call this thing Cortana, thank you.