Cortana digital assistant reportedly launching with Windows Phone 8.1... in the U.S.

In the last week or so, details have emerged describing 'Cortana', Microsoft's upcoming digital assistant that aims to offer the kind of voice interaction and interrogation features found in Apple's Siri, with the intelligent context-aware capabilities of Google Now. It's believed that Microsoft eventually intends to integrate the service into all of its major products, including the Windows OS family and the new Xbox One. 

Twitter leaker @qxerro - a new addition to the scene, but one who's already shared a good deal of info on Windows Phone - has revealed a few details regarding the rollout of Cortana. While the service is currently being tested on handsets with General Distribution Release 3 (GDR3), the next update for Windows Phone 8 which will arrive before the end of the year, don't expect Cortana to be part of it. 

Instead, it's believed that the digital assistant will launch as an integrated component of Windows Phone 8.1 in early 2014, although some users will have to wait longer than others, as @qxerro claims that Cortana will only be available for customers in the United States when WP8.1 rolls out.

International support for the service, covering at least 44 languages, is expected to come to Windows Phone 8.1 eventually, but those outside of the U.S. will have to wait until late 2014 for it to arrive. Currently, no details are available regarding plans to launch the service on Windows 8/RT or the Xbox One.

The news will undoubtedly disappoint many, with excitement already building among Windows Phone users, with thousands signing a petition requesting that Microsoft keep the Cortana development codename - a reference to Master Chief's AI companion in the Halo game series - when it launches. 

Source: @qxerro | Image via Microsoft

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I can see Glance integrated with this (always listening) say: OK Cortana, Bing the news highlights for today. Or even OK Cortana, Google...
Or OK Cortana, Tellme... or just ok set a timer for...

I would love to ability to use set a trigger word instead of just Cortana. And maybe get a stand up phone docking station with glance having the ability to tell time so that it acts like a alarm and clock, then when I wake up all I have to say is "Cortana, what's the weather like."

Taking the glance even further we should be able to use gestures to open certain apps right away like camera or Skype lets say with a 3 finger swipe. The ability to send an alarm to a phone and wake them by saying Cortana wake "Jeff" would be awesome!

I'm not sure where in that article it says that Merlin has any future. In fact, the first few lines tell you that it is deprecated and might not be available in future versions of Windows. Or were you trying to be sarcastic?

Will be interesting to see how integrated they can get it, I expect it to be US only but they really should push all these things out to as many markets as they can, it's getting pretty silly at this point.

Gungel said,
It says it right in the article that they will launch it in 44 languages by end of 2014.

I saw that, I just mean at the start they're US only, and quite a few things still are US only, specially with Bing. It's silly at this point how everything they release is US only from day 1, that's all. Still waiting for them to expand Xbox Music to more markets but they've never even talked about doing that in forever.

Well if "Cortana" is more than a silly codename, and they try to capitalize on the success of Halo, then I guess you Windows Phone users will be able to put on your Master Chef masks and pretend you're in a video game.

Good this is coming to WP. Funny tho. If this was about any other company and was a feature WP already had... People would complain about copying MS.

When the public see the Microsoft ad for this, they'll won't be thinking "wow, that's amazing - I want", but instead "oh, I saw iPhone and Samsung ads featuring that technology ages ago".

It wouldn't be right for Microsoft to call it a "revolutionary NEW feature", because by facts, it's not.

If MS is smart, they will create an animation of her on the screen when she is talking. Something that makes her feel closer to you, and create attachment.

Microsoft still playing catch up... By the time this hits the few thousand WP users, Android and iOS would have moved on to the next hot thing, and Microsoft will still be burning billions playing catch up...

I say boh. I have a Lumia 920.

I was actually waiting until 8.1 before I make the decision whether or not to jump to Apple. But, as I'm in Canada, if I have to wait until late 2014 for Cortana to be available then I might as well go Apple and call it a day.

The few times I used Siri, it told me it pointed me to a restaurant that was 30 miles away. Some may use Siri, but I hardly ever use it (maybe 3-4 times in 2 years) and I do not know anyone who does.

hagjohn said,
The few times I used Siri, it told me it pointed me to a restaurant that was 30 miles away. Some may use Siri, but I hardly ever use it (maybe 3-4 times in 2 years) and I do not know anyone who does.

Did you say "near me"?

Seriously? Siri would think, by default, I wanted directions to a chinese restaurant 30 miles away? But to answer your question, I think I said "nearest".

I should add that I'm expecting Siri to evolve continuously. If Cortana is going to be this revolutionary thing that MS wants then Apple will have an answer soon enough.

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