Notification center, Cortana digital assistant reportedly set for Windows Phone 8.1

Details of a notification center and virtual assistant codenamed “Cortana” have long been rumored for future versions of Windows Phone, and a new report claims they’ll both be coming in the next major update to Microsoft’s mobile operating system.

According to The Verge, Windows Phone 8.1 will include both features, which it says will be revealed at BUILD 2014 in April. A release time frame isn’t provided in the report, though it claims Microsoft employees are currently beta testing the update.

Windows Phone 8.1’s notification center will operate similar to the integrated versions on Android and iOS, according to the report, with a long-swipe down from the top of the screen displaying notifications from different apps. A short swipe from the top is said to reveal a quick-settings menu. 

Images of a notification center in Windows Phone first leaked in June, when a developer phone containing an early build of the update was accidentally sold on eBay. Microsoft admitted in November 2012 that it “ran out of time” for a notification center in Windows Phone 8 in its efforts to launch the OS.

Cortana, named after the A.I. character in the Halo series, will allegedly operate similarly to Google Now and Apple’s Siri, with users speaking in natural language to command Windows Phone devices. The virtual assistant was first reported in September by ZDNet, which claims Cortana will also be coming to Windows and Xbox One at some point. According to The Verge, Cortana will replace the integrated Bing search feature in Windows Phone, presumably launching when users press the search button. 

Other features allegedly coming to Windows Phone 8.1 include volume controls for different aspects of the OS, VPN support and Bing Smart Search results similar to those found in Windows 8.1. Additionally, some areas of the OS, such as the music hub, will be further refined, the report states, with Xbox Music and Xbox Video separated into different apps.

Source: The Verge

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Can we please get a notification center in the next version of Windows, Microsoft? A lot of users have been waiting since "Longhorn".

Can't wait
also, I can confirm (if you believe me xD) that at least some type of drag-down settings/notification center is being actively tested, I saw a version of it in use a few weeks ago.

That's VERY late! This better be more than just a catch-up update - and those catch-ups better be better than the competition (which they probably won't be).

Btw: cortana is a great name for the assistant. MS marketing always ruins products with stupid names Don't change this.

Enron said,
Better than Microsoft Natural Language Assistant 2014 Mobile Edition

They could always let the user name the phone themselves and teach it the pronunciation if necessary. These hard-set names feel like they're being championed by marketing so people near you can know what device you're using just by what you say to it.

When you hear someone say Siri to their phone, everyone around knows it's an Apple product. "Ok, Google" is about as subtle as a C.S. Lewis metaphor.

If Windows marketing had its way, they'd probably try to get users to somehow have to say the word "Windows" as part of the speech trigger.

For myself, and most of the people in the mobile phone market, I don't give a crap about the Halo franchise, and don't get the nerd boner Halo fans get at the thought of calling it Cortana. It's a meaningless name to me with no appeal, and Siri is just as stupid a name, so I don't fall for the "Apple picked a meaningless name, too" excuse, as if childish finger-pointing justifications are enough to base decisions on.

I don't like how they're using the same gesture Windows 8 has for closing or moving apps. Long swipe from the top in W8 lets you close apps and short swipe lets you move them around to Multi-task.

Would have been nice if Windows Phone 8 moves closer to Windows by incorporating the same touch gestures. Such as swipe from leftside to switch between apps.

As for the notification centre, why not place it left of the startscreen? You have the startscreen in the middle, app list to the right and then notifications on the left. On Windows 8 (where the screen orientation is 90 degrees altered) the app list is down of the startscreen and notifications van be above it.

Maybe they are taking their time with the update because they are still thinking of how they can justify saying "First WP8 phones won't be upgradable".

Yes, I am still a totally embittered WP7.8 user

If all this is true, I am very excited about this update. I can't wait for it to roll out...

Notification Center? Assistant (Which will also be nice in XBox One), VPN Support? Yes and thank you. LOL

Ugh, April for a announcement, probably June-ish for release? Way too long to wait. I don't get MS sometimes. I'm a pretty ardent supporter of theirs and the way they take their time with this stuff is annoying beyond all get out sometimes. They don't have the luxury of being ahead so they need these features out, and out yesterday!

If they couldn't release the notification center for WP8 launch what is taking them so long now? Bring this stuff out as it's ready. No need to bundle it all together. Give us what they have done and keep it coming.

If we're waiting that long for WP Blue it better be a hell of an update. Feature parity with Android is what's expected. I doubt we'll get it even with Blue though. Threshold seems to be that update and that's in what, the fall?

In other words, WP users will be the "out of controlled environment" (genuine pig) testers for Cortana, and if everything goes well, we will see her in Xbox One soon!

Yep ...send her my way!

Maybe it is not apparent to you by now, that I like to test things. However it doesn't mean that I will utilize it.

Maybe you also didn't get the drift what I was telling you with our previous conversation, that I laid it out to you that MS was not ready with their new speech tech, and I do believe I mentioned Cortana to you as well ...and what did you say that Kinect cannot do natural speech ....hmmm, sounds like someone here has selective memory. Hmmmmm

Continue your lies. Not once did I ever say it "cannot do natural speech", ever. This is exactly what I said:

There's no reason why Kinect shouldn't be interpreting natural speech. There's no reason it should log me in when it sees my friend, who looks nothing like me, pass by.

This is what Spocili said:

They can't because you don't know when the selection list might be

Then you blatantly agree with what he said with this statement:

That ...and why would I talk to a device...

Kinect is command driven, and it will take a lot long to control it with natural speech pattern.

So what are you saying?

AWilliams87 said,
Continue your lies. Not once did I ever say it "cannot do natural speech", ever. This is exactly what I said:


This is what Spocili said:


Then you blatantly agree with what he said with this statement:

So what are you saying?

...and I told you that the programming isn't designed for natural speech, thus I mentioned to you Cortana. The problem with you is that you get too emotional and you only see your side of the story.

You know, in court, glad we are not in one, if you call someone a liar, that means you are the one that is guilty. It also seem that you still broken hearted that I left you because you sure are going out your way to get me engage with another flame war. LOL

Like I said, you are acting like an old girlfriend, and a stalker since you are following each of my comments in different articles. LOL

Are you a stalker?

AWilliams87 said,
You said this days ago.

Now you can't wait?

Cortana... is not a device. Windows Phone is a device, but he wants to talk to Cortana.

RommelS said,

You know, in court, glad we are not in one, if you call someone a liar, that means you are the one that is guilty.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys proclaim that someone is lying, or a liar, in court all of the time. If you claim someone is a liar in court it simply puts the burden of proof on you to show through evidence that they are lying.

Something I'd like to see updated: Pages added to vertical scrolling through the home screen. More features accessed through long pressing a button or double tapping. The ability to put tiles together and form a single horizontal or vertical bar. The oversized headers reduced in size (Buttons from the text or switched to icons.)

Maybe something like this?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/9351217@N07/11406212516/

@mac said,
So all the ships and devices in Halo are powered by Windows Phone? That's... freaky.

Nah, just Master Chief. She chose him, because he is WP based.

I agree but with the beta program up and running I expect them to make a beta/preview available to users at build with a final release in the summer.

George P said,
I agree but with the beta program up and running I expect them to make a beta/preview available to users at build with a final release in the summer.

I'm using GDR3 thanks to the free dev program. Hopefully I can get 8.1 early too.

I hope they allow "deep linking" into settings, so it's easy to pin "airplane mode" to the start screen, for example. And allow sorting of the settings, and sorting of the all apps list (like in the Win8.1 All Apps screen... most recently used, most used, alphabetical, by category, etc)

adza33 said,


not available in my region?? Wtf??? Why cant Aus download this app!!!

There are plenty of similar apps in the store.

Yes, I'm aware of the 3rd party tools that allow you to do this, but it should be a fundamental part of Windows Phone... they enabled "deep linking" for apps, but didn't take advantage of it in the OS where it made sense. They just need to make the deep linking more robust and consistent.

I actually already do this with 3rd party apps. I just don't want to have to download some app to do something that should be a natural part of the OS.

"not available in my region?? Wtf??? Why cant Aus download this app!!!"


No need to have a Cow over it, just change the en-us part of the link to your own country.

Walrush said,
No need to have a Cow over it, just change the en-us part of the link to your own country.

Region hack still works. I peruse WP app deal sites all the time and download from where they're free.

~Nikhil~ said,
i thought its gonna release in feb 2014... whyy april 2014

There's also a Windows 8.1 update that is said to be timed to be released together. This is to bring the APIs closer together and has probably added to the longer release time.

j2006 said,
Update 3 (GDR3).

GDR3 is still buggy as all get out.

Maybe once I get Nokia Black to go with it, some issues will clear up.
Using 2nd preview of GDR3 on top Nokia Amber (Lumia 920).

j2006 said,
Update 3 (GDR3) and Nokia Black are slated for January 2014, so having it Feb 2014 wouldn't make sense.
j2006 said,
Update 3 (GDR3) and Nokia Black are slated for January 2014, so having it Feb 2014 wouldn't make sense.
Correction: Nokia ha planned Update 3 for January 2014, other companies already are, or have, rolled out Update 3 back in November. It's very unlikely that it will take another 5 months before we see the first thing of Windows Phone 8.1.

Studio384 said,
Correction: Nokia ha planned Update 3 for January 2014, other companies already are, or have, rolled out Update 3 back in November. It's very unlikely that it will take another 5 months before we see the first thing of Windows Phone 8.1.

Adding to your post for other readers:
Some of the recent Nokia devices also ship with a version of GDR3, but they will also get a final GDR3 update in January.

April is a very long wait and that's just for the announcements. Roll out will take even longer. Considering it's been a long time since a major update I hope MS throws WP owners a bone before then.

Yeah to me quick settings are more useful than the *needed* notification center or volume controls. Deeper integration with the people hub, separating out apps for faster updates (yeah, like Android) and improved search are the things I'm most excited about. Oh and I want a way to move photos into folders on my phone, doing it on SkyDrive is a hack.