Tag Archives: Cortana

N.O.W: Fruity iPhone 5C, UK Pirating Habits and Windows Phone Cortana

In this week’s N.O.W we talk about Apple’s fruit salad – the iPhone 5C and how Apple is going for market share. When was the last time you pirated? The UK now pirates a third less content than in 2012 and we look at some of the alternatives. Plus a possible Surface Phone… Would you want Cortana, Master Chief’s assistant on your phone? Would it take on Siri and win? Let us know below…

Microsoft Parody iPhone 5s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20LgureMuWo

Cortana leaves Master Chief for Windows Phone. Siri watch out

cortana-windows

Windows Phone isn’t normally something to get excited about, not saying you shouldn’t, but Microsoft has definitely been on the catch up over the last three years and Windows Phone hasn’t really led the market in any way. But this time it might be different. Throughout the Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft phone OS debate Microsoft has been the competitor without any voice assistant features. Soon this might change as the gaming world and mobile phone market merge and cross.

Back in June, an early beta of Windows Phone was spotted on eBay – installed on a Nokia Lumia, nobody really cared or noticed a system app named ‘zCortana’. Microsoft was clearly playing ‘clever’, the ‘z’ simply identifying that the product was still in testing. Now it has emerged that this app, zCortana, is in fact pinnacle to Microsoft’s Windows Phone strategy and in fact will help them tackle the likes of Google and Apple within the mobile market.

As we move towards the Windows ‘Blue’ release in early 2014, Cortana has made it into the news again. It is surprisingly simple, Cortana receives its name from the highly popular AI assistant from Halo, Cortana. With the ability to learn and adapt – Cortana features alongside Master Chief as a artificially intelligent assistant in the Halo series.

It seems that Cortana will be more than just an app within the Windows Phone ecosystem, but is more core and central to the entire system – a makeover of the entire “shell”. Outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer hinted at a AI type service linking together all its products under one system in his memo to staff: “a family of devices powered by a service-enabled shell.”

He went on to add:

“Our UI will be deeply personalized, based on the advanced, almost magical, intelligence in our cloud that learns more and more over time about people and the world. Our shell will natively support all of our essential services, and will be great at responding seamlessly to what people ask for, and even anticipating what they need before they ask for it.”

Early indicators point to Microsoft developing a virtual assistant, similar to that of Siri on the iPhone, but instead of wholly sourcing information from search engines, will link together our services to “enable richer and deeper app experiences”.

We might get Cortana giving us deeper integration within every service that Microsoft offers, services such as maps, transport and more of Bing. You could just imagine the reply of your phone when you just miss that bus:

“It may be awhile before we find another ride home. You know that, right?”

And what happens when Windows Phone goes wrong? We’ve all had an app freeze or crash:

“Chief, I know I’m supposed to know what to do but…”—I always know what to do..I always..know..what to do! Just give me a second..”

Forgetting the Cortana related puns, Ballmer and Co have been touting a virtual voice assistant like service among Microsoft products since 2011. Stating that users will be able to tell their PC to print tickets and boarding passes, controlling several elements of the Microsoft ecosystem entirely with their voice.

Gamers are especially interested in how Microsoft market this new system, with Jen Taylor the voice behind the Halo Cortana – will they call her back in to remake the virtual assistant? Will they actually launch it as ‘Cortana’?  Will there be a blue face on your screen, listening, waiting for your evey question – a humanoid figure that you can converse with? Personally I see Microsoft on a win if they continue the ‘Cortana’ branding – linking directly to their successful Halo series; it may just attract the new customers Microsoft needs. Without hoping too much, we wish that Cortana will be more than a voice assistant or voice control. Following the theme from Halo, Microsoft may develop the AI as an adaptable and learning system that personalises to the user and gets better over time. This would far out rank the offering of Siri and even Google Voice. Cortana could give suggestions, alternatives and real information that you need before you’ve asked for it. Similar to Google Now but so much better with the Halo branding.

Whatever Microsoft do release, hopefully we won’t be disappointed and it lives up to the Cortana we all know and love. Microsoft have to ask themselves, would Master Chief use it?