By Stephen Schenck | January 16, 2014 3:39 PM
Rumors about a Windows Phone voice-based virtual assistant started getting some legs to them last summer, as we heard about Microsoft’s work on a system under development as “Cortana.” We assumed that was little more than a cheeky reference to the AI character in Halo games, but now that we’re coming up on the service’s rumored launch, new details are arriving, including the claim that Microsoft is really embracing the Cortana name, going so far as to recruit the character’s voice actor for the app.
Supposedly, Jen Taylor will return to her Halo role to provide the system’s speaking voice, and that alone could be big news for Microsoft; although we’ll ultimately have to judge the service based on its performance, we can’t deny the outright “cool factor” of getting to play Master Chief, talking to Cortana for ourselves.
As far as introducing Cortana goes, this rumor claims that a developer beta will launch on Lumia devices this April, but it’s not clear just what that means for when a public launch might occur. Further out, Cortana would reportedly spread to iOS (courtesy of Microsoft’s Bing app) sometime in the fall, and expand to Microsoft’s other platforms (desktop and gaming) next year.