The first handset designed for Windows Phone 8.1, the Lumia 630, is now available in the UK (along with plenty of other markets around the world), and will be joined by the Lumia 930 in the next few weeks. But one of the most exciting features of the updated OS – the Cortana digital assistant – remains officially unavailable in the UK, with support remaining exclusive to the US for now.
But that will soon change. Two weeks ago, a tweet from Microsoft UK hinted that Cortana would be available there “soon”. Today, a video from British retailer Carphone Warehouse on the Lumia 630, spotted by MyNokiaBlog, stated that Cortana’s “UK version that understands our accents is coming very soon”.
We have been able to confirm this through a source at Microsoft, who did not wish to be named, but who told Neowin that Cortana support will in fact be launching in the UK "this month", although an exact date was not provided. This may coincide with the start of the planned rollout of Windows Phone 8.1 to existing devices released with WP8.
In addition to speech recognition that can deal with the wide range of accents to be found across the British Isles, Cortana is also expected to offer more localised support through its ‘notebook’, which tracks interests and settings relevant to the user.
Alongside China, the UK is one of two additional markets that Microsoft has confirmed will get Cortana support this year, although that list is expected to grow considerably in 2015.