Microsoft Reveals Windows Phone 8.1 with Cortana Digital Assistant

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by Jeff Dunn, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. Jeff Dunn

    Jeff Dunn TechnologyGuide Assistant Editor

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    Microsoft unveiled this week the latest iteration of its Windows Phone mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8.1, with a host of upgrades that should help the company better compete with Google's Android and Apple's iOS.

    Read the full content of this Article: Microsoft Reveals Windows Phone 8.1 with Cortana Digital Assistant

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  2. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    I think the biggest momentum-builder for WP will be (1) a shared app platform with Windows 8 and Xbox One, which should dramatically increase app developer interest, and (2) Microsoft's announcement that devices under 9" can now get Windows licenses for free, which actually makes it cheaper for OEMs to field Windows Phone devices than Android (the latter involve $10/device or so in patent license payments to Microsoft).

    I like the wallpaper-on-tiles approach to making the homescreen more visually interesting, but I actually preferred the wallpaper-under-translucent-tiles approach of Launcher8 better (Launcher8 is an Android launcher), or at least the wallpaper-under-opaque-tiles that you can enable in Windows 8.1 (desktop OS). This is what Launcher8 looks like:

    [​IMG]

    Having a natural-language assistant is going to be good for marketing, though I personally am not into them at all. I think it's really cool that they stuck with the name Cortana (who "resembles a hula hoop, or a halo" according to her...nicely played). For most people, it's just a made-up sophisticated-sounding name like Siri, but for anyone with a background in Xbox gaming, it's a nice tip of the hat.
     
  3. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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  4. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    In the Halo games, "Cortana," voiced by Jen Taylor, is the digital assistant for Master Chief, the main character. So when Microsoft called their own digital assistant Cortana, they're ripping both the name and role right out of the Halo games. And when Cortana (on Windows Phone) is an animated circle who says she looks like "a hula hoop, or a halo," it's a terrible pun. Terribly awesome.
     
  5. Jamison Cush

    Jamison Cush TechnologyGuide Editor Moderator

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    I hope it also proves terribly useful. Personally, I find Siri and whatever we're calling the voice-enable Google Now to be neat, but far from useful or reliable. All three companies are playing the long game here, likely. It will be a few years before voice recognition improves to the point that it becomes a viable input method for most scenarios, and information is organized and retrieved in a way that proves useful nearly all the time.

    As it stands, Google Now constantly misses the mark on news updates (it thinks I'm a Minnesota Timberwolves fan because I googled Ricky Rubio once) and gets my location wrong by two towns when I'm at the office. Its traffic updates are also way off the mark every morning.
     
  6. Mitlov

    Mitlov Shiny

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    I also find Google Now pretty useless.

    I don't know how effective Cortana will be, but considering the fictional artificial intelligence that the digitial assistant is named after suffered degenerative "rampancy" (defined by the Halo wiki as a condition "in which the AI 'develops delusions of godlike power,' as well as utter contempt for its mentally inferior makers"), I bet Cortana will at least be more exciting than Google Now ;)
     
  7. Drillbit

    Drillbit Mobile Deity

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    I actually find Google Now quite useful, but to do that Google has to collect information about your news, travel, stock, and weather habits, which is done by signing in on your Google Search. Google Now always gives me my local map, travel and weather information, as well as people's birthdays. Also pushes up the stock quotes I want, and the news articles I want. For example, it pushes to me new Notebook Review articles because I Google Searched and browsed a number of notebook articles in Notebook Review. By consistently clicking on those cards, it consistently pushes more of those cards when there is a new Notebook Review article.
     
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