It was  October 24, 2011 when Apple released iPhone 4S and the world was introduced to the first ever intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator Siri and since then every company wanted to build there own competitor. Google had a Android voice input system in place before the release of Siri but it neither got the popularity nor recognition that Siri got and Google has been working on Google Now to improve it with every release. After Microsoft’s $7.2BN+ acquisition of Nokia Mobile it was evident that for the first time Microsoft has become serious about investing in the smart phone industry. Most of the experts think that it is too late for Microsoft because of the current market share and projected market share doesn’t look different either.

Cortana Windows Phone But Microsoft has not given up on the smart phone technology yet. With the release of Windows Phone 8.1 Microsoft has waged a war of mobile personal assistant against Apple and Google. Cortana is Microsoft’s voice-run intelligent personal assistant on the Windows Phone 8.1. The name Cortana is not new for Halo players and fans .Cortana is a fictional artificially intelligent character in the Halo video game series. Microsoft’s Cortana is also voiced by the Jen Taylor, just like in Halo. Cortana is currently available to all users of Windows Phone 8.1 in the United States as a beta, and will eventually roll out to all WP8.1 users worldwide in late 2014 and early 2015. Design of Cortana is two nested, animated circles. The circles are animated to indicate certain activities such as searching or talking.

Here are two of the most notable features of Cortana


Notebook is Cortana’s repository of personal information such as interests, location data, reminders, friends and favorite routines. Cortana constantly learns about the user’s preferences and behavior and modifies itself accordingly. Notebook can contain information about traffic, current weather and forecast, news headlines and many more. The best part about the Notebook is that all of the information saved by Cortana is view-able, editable and delete-able to the user so user has the full control over what information should I let my phone save about me. This advance privacy feature gives Cortana an edge over existing personal assistants.

Better Voice Recognition, Human Interaction and more personalization cortana screenshots

After the release of Siri a lot of people made fun of its poor voice recognizing abilities. Microsoft claims that Cortana’s listening abilities are next generation and it wont become a fuel for jokes. Cortana has three planners, alerts galore, and offers proactive suggestions. It boasts a people based reminders feature linking to calls texts and Emails. If you are a tech enthusiast you have probably watched, last year Sci-Fi romantic movie called “Her” in which the main character falls in love with a advanced operation system. Microsoft’s claims of giving Cortana a personality seems like we just got one step closer to making that movie a reality.

Most of the above features are well tested by developer community and have found to be close to Microsoft’s claims which is remarkable. However there is still a long long way before Microsoft  catches up or even gets half as close to any of their competitor. Only the time will tell that if Cortana can make people actually buy Nokia Phones.