Is Microsoft's Cortana the new Siri?
Microsoft is cooking up its own version of Siri, Apple's voice-activated assistant, for devices running its Windows Phone operating system, a tech site reported.
The Verge quoted sources familiar with Microsoft's plans as saying the personal assistant and a notification center may be included in Windows Phone 8.1.
Dubbed "Cortana," the personal digital assistant has been in testing for "a number of months," The Verge said.
It added "Cortana" may replace the existing Bing search on Windows Phone "to allow users to interact using voice or text input."
"We’re told it’s similar to Google Now and Apple’s Siri technology, with conversational interaction and the ability to learn location context and data from the phone," it said.
Also, The Verge said "Cortana" is similar to "Google Now," in that it will "automatically remind you when a meeting is approaching and how long you’ll need to reach an appointment."
It said Microsoft is internally "beta testing" copies of Windows Phone 8.1, and may disclose details of the new features at the Build Developer Conference in April 2014.
On the other hand, The Verge said Windows Phone 8.1 may also include a "highly requested" notification-center feature.
Users can activate it by swiping down from the top of the screen, similar way to Apple's iOS and Google's Android.
"New quick settings are exposed by a short swipe from the top, and a longer swipe will display a full notification history in current beta versions of Windows Phone 8.1. Both additions address some highly requested features in Windows Phone," The Verge said.
Other upcoming features in Windows Phone 8.1 include separate volume controls that let users control ringtone volume independently of media playback, and Bing Smart Search results.
Also coming is VPN support for enterprise users, the report said.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is reportedly separating the built-in music hub in Windows Phone 8.1, and Xbox Music and Xbox Video will ship as separate apps for 8.1.
Nokia readying handsets
For its part, Finnish phone maker Nokia is preparing two handsets for the WP update.
The Verge said one device codenamed "Goldfinger" will include a "3D Touch" system that detects off-the-glass interactions.
Another handset, codenamed "Moneypenny," will take advantage of the new on-screen Windows Phone 8.1 buttons. — TJD, GMA News