More details on Microsoft’s version of Siri have been leaked. Codename Cortana, after the Halo video game character, we were expecting the voice assistant to be a part of Windows Phone 8.1 or later, but according to MSFTNerd, it’ll end up having a far wider release.
According to the rumor, Cortana will also show up on the Xbox and inside Windows computers over the coming years, plus it could be added to the Bing app for the iPhone too. We say, “could,” as its functionality sounds very similar to Siri, something which Apple rarely looks on favorably.
Cortana will recognize the same natural speech patterns we use to interact with Siri and Google Now. However, instead of an OK command, or potentially, the press of a button, Cortana will listen up when you say, “Bing tell me.” Avoiding the obvious jokes (Bing tell me, why would I use you when I have Google?), the examples provided show Cortana will let you know the day’s weather forecast, your calendar entries, and also fire up Bing Maps.
Apparently, the Cortana assistant will be released in beta form for Lumia Windows Phones in April, when it’ll only be available in America, before coming to the Bing iPhone app during the latter half of the year. It’s not clear whether Cortana will be compatible with older Windows Phone devices, or if it’ll be a special feature for the first Lumia devices launched by Microsoft. The rumor also indicates Microsoft may limit access to Cortana until 2015 or even 2016, and that U.S. Xbox and Windows 9 computer users may get the software before those outside America.
Microsoft has confirmed it’s working on a virtual assistant, but Bing director Stefan Weitz said in an interview last year, “We are not shipping until we have something more revolutionary.” He continued to say it could release a direct competitor already, but, “It wouldn’t be state of the art.” If these new timeframes turn out to be correct, Microsoft is still not rushing into anything.