Plenty of Windows Phone users had been waiting on the announcement of Windows Phone 8.1 at BUILD 2014, and finally got their wish today as Microsoft reeled off an extensive list of new features soon headed to current Windows Phone 8 devices in the form of a gleaming new update. As well as the likes of Action Center and significant improvements to the lock screen and home screen, one of the key new features of Windows Phone 8.1 is Cortana, the voice assistant that will serve as the software giant’s very own take on Siri, and given the cult status of Apple’s digital slave, Microsoft seized upon the opportunity to release a series of clips explaining why Cortana will be better.
When Apple first rolled out Siri alongside iOS 5 and the iPhone 4s, the world was fascinated by its ability to process information, perform searches, and generally present itself as a rounded character. But while, with Siri, one would struggle to hold a genuine conversation before the tell-tale awkward silences emerged, one should be able to consider Cortana a virtual friend from the get-go, since, like a real-life buddy, it will begin to learn more about your character over time.
In the weeks leading up to today’s announcement, we heard that Microsoft was plotting to deliver a service that embodied the best of both Siri and Google Now, and I guess, when you leave it so long before coming up with your own version of something, the only real advantage is that you can learn from the mistakes of others while implementing the good bits.
What we’ve seen so far has been rather promising, but while the videos below do a lot of explaining as to why Cortana has the edge over Siri, what we’d really love to have seen was a head-to-head, pound-for pound comparison of each, with a little Google Now thrown in for good measure.
As aforementioned, Windows Phone 8.1 will arrive in the coming months. It should be immediately available to all of those currently running (or able to run) Windows Phone 8, and Nokia’s Stephen Elop has already confirmed that all Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices will be supported.
In the meantime, check out these short-but-sweet videos related to Cortana and Siri, and hopefully, we’ll get a better insight into Cortana’s true capabilities in due course.
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