After being rumoured for some time, the personal assistant within the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update has finally been revealed by Microsoft. Called Cortana (yup, from the Halo video games universe), it was unveiled on stage at the opening keynote of the Microsoft Build Developer Conference just moments ago.
In general, most of the things that we have heard about Cortana last month were pretty much confirmed during the unveiling at Build by Joe Belfiore, the company’s Corporate Vice President of Operating Systems. One of it is the Cortana Notebook system which allows users to control their relationship with Cortana or in another words, the data that Cortana collect from users.
But of course, Joe’s presentation provided more in-depth look at Cortana. For example, the Cortana Notebook itself is divided into several different sections as shown below:
According to Joe, Interests represent the personal details and usage habit that Cortana learn of the user while Inner Circle lists the user’s frequent or closest contacts. In addition to that, Quiet Hours enables users to allow Cortana to silent notifications, in-coming calls, and texts. Cortana also allow users to not only set standard reminders such as appointments and quick notes but also people-based reminders such as a certain topic to inform one of your friends when you call him or her next time.
In addition to that, users are also able to command Cortana to make phone calls, write messages, add appointments, set alarms, and many more. In fact, she is also able to communicate with third party apps. Not to forget, Cortana is actually the complete replacement for the operating system’s previous search functionality although it is still mainly powered by Bing.
To interact with Cortana, users can either speak to her or type the command directly in her main screen called Cortana Home. Cortana will then reply in the same manner that users interact with her; she will reply back in voice if you speak to her while she will not use voice if you typed the command.
Accessible through Live Tiles or Windows Phone’s search button, Cortana will be rolled out as a beta in United States very soon. The finalized version of Cortana will be made available in US, UK, and China in second half of this year before it is released to other countries. Looks like it going to take a while to reach Malaysian Windows Phone users then.