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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