If you’re a keen Star Trek fan then you’ve got one more reason to pick Windows Phone over Android and iOS: Its Cortana digital assistant is now able to speak Klingon thanks to some clever work by Microsoft’s engineers. Ask the app to “speak Klingon” and you can play around with several Star Trek-themed responses.
Cortana will now gladly let you beam yourself up and set phasers to stun, for example, simply by talking to your phone. This isn’t a completely pointless addition, either: Microsoft is currently sponsoring the third annual Star Trek conference in London, so the move will help improve its profile at the event. Cortana’s developers are said to be big fans of the sci-fi franchise in any case.
Cortana’s new linguistic versatility is only available in to users in the UK right now — the feature has also been timed to coincide with the launch of the latest Lumia 830 handset in Britain — but Microsoft has confirmed that the feature will be rolling out to the US in the coming weeks, if you’re interested in giving it a go and getting strange looks from anyone within earshot.
Slashgear sets out some of the phrases that you can try with Klingon activated — including the rather provocative “Star Wars or Star Trek?” — as well as pointing out that Klingon translations are also available through Bing. It’s a fairly obvious marketing stunt but it’s more inventive than most.
Sci-fi languages aside, Cortana is one of the key pieces in Microsoft’s evolving Windows strategy, and its importance will grow even further once it arrives on desktops with the Windows 10 update next year — Microsoft has been busy positioning it as a more advanced alternative to Siri and Google Now in much of its advertising. Among the features recently added to the app was support for Insteon smart home devices.