Microsoft is preparing to release Cortana, the rivalry to Apple’s Siri, at its Build Conference in April. Designed to replace the built-in Bing search functionality, Cortana will appear on Window’s 8.1 phones in the form of an animated icon.
Key features of Cortana include the ability to save information and data in a Notebook system. This will give accessibility to users location, behaviors, personal information, reminders, and contact information. Cortana also has the ability to track flights, emails, and generate notifications similar to Google Now. “Quiet hours” is a do not disturb mode which will allow users to silence all calls, texts and other notifications during times chosen.
When this is released, windows users can begin using Cortana simply by answering questions and setting preferences for how the system will address them. A video that demonstrates this process has been released. Though it does not reveal the voice of Cortana, other features are further shown like quiet hours.
It is currently unclear how much access if any new windows 8 apps will have with Cortana. This can potentially have a greater impact on developers in addition to users. This can provide a new market for voice accessibility, changing app development for Windows phones.
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