While Microsoft might be behind the competition in their development of a voice-activated digital assistant, the new Windows Phone 8.1 will have an answer to Apple’s Siri and Google Now. Cortana, named after the Halo character, was leaked in September 2013 after a Microsoft employee lost a phone running the Windows Phone 8.1.

 

Windows Phone 8.1 leak of Cortana icons. TrustedReviews.com.

Windows Phone 8.1 Cortana icons leaked on Thurs. Feb. 20. TrustedReviews.com.

In the new update to 8.1, Cortana will replace the built-in Bing search feature and learn about the user’s interests based on what they share in the “Notebook” feature. This will allow the user to maintain control and privacy, a concern some have expressed about similar digital assistants.

 

 

 

On Thursday February 20, another leaked Windows Phone 8.1 revealed that Cortana may have much more functionality than previously speculated. Not only will Cortana provide driving directions, manage calendars, and assist in internet searches, but she will also alert the user to traffic obstructions, construction zones, stock trends, and local weather forecasts. Windows 8.1 is set to be deployed on Windows Phones in early 2014.

 

 

Do you own a Windows Phone? Would a more improved digital assistant give you more incentive to make the switch to Windows Phone? Let’s talk technology here in the comments section below, or you can tweet me @TiffaniJPurdy (I’ll get it on my Windows Phone!)