Posts tagged with: Cortana
  • by | April 16, 2014 7:00 AM

    Windows Phone 8.1 dropped earlier this week. We saw it at Build, but now we’re actually using it. And it’s for really real. Sure it’s a “Developer’s Preview” and sure some of the features aren’t quite done cooking, but it’s a pretty impressive upgrade to what Windows Phone users have been using. Plus, it’s available for (I think it’s reasonable to say) most Windows Phone users out there, less than two weeks after it’s debut on stage. That’s availability of Apple proportions. The reason this is so exciting is because in so many ways, Microsoft leveled the operating ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 12:49 PM

    Software devs love peppering their releases with a few well-placed Easter eggs, and voice-based virtual assistants on smartphones have been no stranger to this trend: Siri can be goaded into telling knock-knock jokes, and Google Now will engage in some Star Trek dialogue if asked to beam you up. As a result, it shouldn't be too surprising to learn that Microsoft's Cortana likes to get in on the fun as well, and this morning we check out one of the first-known Cortana Easter eggs. Remember Clippy, the on-screen cartoon paper clip “assistant” that would pop up in Microsoft Office with ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 1:03 AM

    Back in the day we used to refer to our electronic devices as PDAs -- Personal Digital Assistants. They weren't. In fact, they weren't much more than battery-operated day planners, the paper versions of which were in style around the turn of the century. Today these devices have given way to Internet-connected smartphones that are finally starting to include the ability to complete core tasks via voice-assisted input. Apple has Siri. Google has Google Now. Finally, Microsoft has Cortana. Some feel that this personalized and voice-responsive component finally brings the "assistant" to ...

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  • by | April 14, 2014 11:33 PM

    Windows Phone 8.1 is not Windows Phone 9. It might seem merely a bland truth or a bit of farcical arithmetic, but the above statement is important to keep in mind when considering Microsoft's latest update to its distinctive smartphone operating system. After over a year since the last major upgrade, it's natural for advocates and casual users alike to pine for something profound – a ground-up rewrite that propels the third-place contender to the top in one fell swoop. Windows Phone 8.1 is not that rewrite. Less a reinvention than a honing of what came before, the new Windows Phone ...

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  • by | April 14, 2014 5:58 PM

    You may not remember this, but more than a decade ago, Microsoft embarked on the first move that wiped the Palm Pilot’s presence from existence. It may sound funny or odd to you today, but believe it or not, what Microsoft did was launch the first PDA with a color display. Today this is a standard, but when you walked into a store in the year 2000, choosing between a Palm Pilot with a black-and-white display and a plastic casing, compared to a Compaq iPAQ made of aluminum and a color display was a no-brainer, even if the iPAQ was twice as expensive. So, did Microsoft innovate and ...

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  • by | April 14, 2014 8:15 AM

    In some ways Microsoft's new speech UI, Cortana, has surpassed the speech interface of its competitors in iOS and Android.  Most people are going to be comparing Cortana to Siri and Google Now since those are the two other popular smartphone speech interfaces at the moment.  At Pocketnow, we know a little better and will be comparing Cortana to how she should work. Google and Apple are really quite new to the whole speech UI for smartphones thing.  Microsoft's old Windows Mobile smartphone operating system had a speech interface called Voice Command back in 2002.  Yeah, that was 12 ...

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  • by | April 14, 2014 8:00 AM

    Of all the understatements and mischaracterizations of the tech world, probably the most ignominious is the point-upgrade. No matter how many major improvements they've contained, updates like the bump from Android 4.3 to 4.4, and BlackBerry 10.1 to 10.2 have always seemed somehow less impressive due to their miniscule numeric promotion. And that's more true than ever before with Windows Phone 8.1. From the introduction of a native voice assistant to some long-overdue interface overhauls, Microsoft's new software injects some sorely-needed modernity into its smartphone platform, and we're ...

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  • by | April 3, 2014 7:00 PM

    Microsoft gets itself a striking new digital assistant, Nokia prepares sharp new smartphone hardware, Samsung and HTC kick off a new round of rasslin', and Pocketnow team members start an informal book club! It might be a scatterbrained itinerary, but at least it's action-packed – and that's just scratching the surface of this week's epic two-hour mobile technology podcast. Join us as we debate the merits of Windows Phone 8.1 Cortana, the forthcoming Nokia Cyan update, and the Samsung ATIV SE before moving on to non-Build topics ranging from BoomSound to smartphone waterproofing ... not ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 11:39 PM

    Watch today's Pocketnow Daily as we talk about the initial Samsung Galaxy S5 sales, even though the phone isn't officially out yet. BlackBerry and T-Mobile are next as its official that both companies hate each-other. Apple vs. Samsung follows as Phil Schiller takes the booth to defend his company. Rumors of a reversible USB connector reach rumor mill. We end today's show talking about Microsoft, Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana, the new Nokia Lumia 930, and all the rest of the things that got announced. All this and more after the break. Stories: - Initial Samsung Galaxy S 5 sales are solid, ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 6:39 PM

    Windows Phone, being the youngest of the major mobile platforms, is comparatively feature light. There are holes in its offerings, such as application support, no centralized notification center, and even customization options for end users. As petty as any one of these missing features may seem, together – paired with the other, tiny idiosyncrasies – are far more important and difficult to overlook. Android and iOS, on the other hand, have received several major point updates since their launch and have both physically and visually matured an impressive amount. They're still far from ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 5:14 PM

    Just a few hours back, we got to hear Microsoft's new Cortana voice assistant speak for the first time. The company is understandably excited about what Cortana can do for WP8.1 users, and presents the system as a much more user-aware alternative to Siri or Google Now. But when we're talking with Cortana, just who is it we're hearing respond? Back in January, rumors suggested that Microsoft had tapped Jen Taylor to reprise her role as Cortana from the Halo games to model her voice for the service. What we heard today sounded close enough to Cortana from the games, but is this really Jen ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 11:27 AM

    Microsoft's Build 2014 keynote is just about to get started, when we expect to get the company's formal announcement of Windows Phone 8.1. That means confirmation of features, including one that's been intriguing us for months now, Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant. Seen as the company's answer to Siri or Google Now, we've been hearing about it since last fall, and new evidence for the service arrived with the leak of the WP8.1 SDK. Still, we haven't managed to actually hear Cortana speak so far, so we're quite excited for this official news. As we wait with baited breath, one last ...

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  • by | April 2, 2014 11:00 AM

    Update: The original edition of this article misidentified Android Wear as "Google Wear". This has been corrected and the author has been appropriately flogged. That headline has multiple dimensions to it. Sure there are a number of concerns involved with touching your phone. Safety, for example. Texting and drive and the death and mutilation that can occur is one such example. Hands free devices are always preferred when navigating a 2000 lb box of death at 55 mph (ya know, give or take) on the highway. There are also health concerns. Lately, your cell phone has been compared with toilet ...

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  • by | March 10, 2014 5:58 PM

    Of all the rumored improvements Windows Phone 8.1 will bring, perhaps none is as important as Cortana. Not that a fully-featured voice assistant is a make-or-break qualification for a platform's success; rather, Cortana symbolizes a more important shift in Microsoft's priorities. With its leaked "Notebook" functionality, the new Windows Phone companion may bring the ability to catalog your personal information for later reference – an important component for any modern "digital assistant." But we've seen that kind of information mining put to good use before, in applications like ...

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  • by | March 7, 2014 7:02 AM

    "What would you say to the people who think that what you do is illegal?" " ... I would tell them that I don't want to answer this question." When you're interviewing the world's most notorious phone leaker, he's bound to duck a question or two. But cautious though he is, Evan Blass –formerly of Pocketnow and currently known across the web by his pen name @evleaks– is also a fountain of insight into the shadowy craft of being a professional spoiler. On today's episode of the Pocketnow Weekly, Evan shares the ups and downs of the underworld he's come to dominate, and gives us a glimpse ...

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