Posts tagged with: Cortana
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    The great thing about today's approach to mobile voice assistants is that the service lies in the cloud, and as such, can be updated periodically with more features. We've seen both Google and Apple be quite aggressive with the updates they've provided to Google Voice Search and Siri respectively, and now Microsoft takes an extra step. The company has just launched new updates to Cortana, and if you haven't noticed, here are a few new tricks. You can now ask Cortana how old Bill Gates is, and the service will respond verbally, something that has made Google's Voice Search famous for years. ...

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    Windows Phone 8.1 has finally seen its public release, following months of availability as a Preview for Developers. But as Windows Phone users all over the world start installing their 8.1 updates, Microsoft already has its eyes on what's next, and today gives us a little taste of what to expect, announcing the coming availability of WP8.1 Update 1 and going over some of the software's key features. Remember that folder support we've been talking about? The update will introduce Live Folders to the platform, letting you group apps for a denser, more feature-packed Start screen. Even ...

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    It's hard to imagine somebody willing to switch from one smartphone platform to another just because of the exiting features of a voice assistant, especially because either of these can evolve over time. Siri was much less capable than it is today, and the same can be said about Google's Voice Search, but Microsoft seems to believe that Cortana is mature enough to make you want to switch in its new ad. Microsoft's "Siri vs. Cortana - Happy Anniversary" commercial shows us some of the neat tricks that Cortana can do, that you currently can't with Siri. Having Cortana remind you to do ...

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    We're probably just another week away from Microsoft's release of a developer preview of Cortana for UK audiences; the company's Marcus Ash announced that schedule last week, and we shared the news with you at the time. But in some follow-up questions to his initial post, Ash revealed additional details about how this effort would arrive, and it's not great news for those of you who were so enamored with Cortana (the service) because it sounded like Cortana (the video game character): the system's voice will change for its UK release. Full details of the switch aren't yet clear, but Ash ...

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    Microsoft's launch of Cortana on Windows Phone 8.1 has been met with much praise. Surely this is the first version of Cortana that many of you are experiencing, but in no way can this service be considered as a lesser product than the more mature services we find on iOS and Android. Still, the biggest problem with Cortana is that it's currently only available for Windows Phone 8.1 devices in the US, or at least was the problem, as it's about to change. Cortana's program manager Marcus Ash has just tweeted about the future of Cortana outside the US. He claims that unless something comes up, ...

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    Though Cortana itself is getting better by the day, actually firing up the voice assistant is not as simple. You have to either hold down the search button, or use a live tile, which significantly slows the process of quickly getting information. New information from Microsoft employee Marcus Ash suggests that the company is working on a voice-activated Cortana for the future. Windows Phone products rocking always-on Cortana would find themselves in the same league as the Moto X in the sense that a voice assistant would be always available. There are a couple drawbacks, however, to having ...

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    One of the coolest features of Windows Phone 8.1 is the Cortana voice assistant. While it still has it quirks, updates are flowing in all the time and many have grown to love it. A new interview Search Engine Land conducted with a Windows Phone team member suggests that Microsoft may be looking to bring Cortana over to the other two major mobile platforms, Android and iOS. While Marcus Ash, the interviewed Microsoft employee, doesn't explicitly state that Cortana is coming to Android and iOS, he says Microsoft is definitely considering it. Here's the exact quote: We want to scale ...

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    Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant is still very much a beta product. Despite being only available in the United States for now (with the UK and other regions on the way), the product still isn't perfect. Microsoft is committing to updating Cortana bi-monthly in order to keep Cortana fresh and bug-free. Microsoft is open to breaking this schedule for updates "that are timely, urgent or especially badass," which is by no means a bad thing. This well allow Jen Taylor's voice to spout info that's entirely relevant to the world around us, reflecting major world events and the like. The change ...

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    One of the early issues with Microsoft's personal assistant on Windows Phone 8.1, Cortana, was its availability. Unfortunately, the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 only featured Cortana access in a very limited number of markets (read: the United States), with more set to come with the passage of time. The next area to be blessed with access to Cortana looks to be the United Kingdom. A tweet sent out by the verified Windows Phone U.K. account shows nothing but the word "Soon," and a picture of Cortana. The only real interpretation is that a U.K. launch is fast approaching, ...

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    Surely Microsoft took a little too much time in launching Cortana to the world, at times when Siri and Google Search were already well established. You could say that even with Microsoft's good job at launching a product that's at times superior than Siri, it would still have a long road ahead to catch-up to its competitors because of how late Windows Phone 8.1 is. Still, it seems that Microsoft has a new card up its sleeve to level that out. We did hear Joe Belfiore claiming that Microsoft could bring Cortana to Windows eventually, though he wasn't specific as to when during the launch ...

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    On last week's edition of the Pocketnow Weekly (093: NEVER SETTLE), we shared with you a piece of listener mail asking us about our preferences when it comes to voice assistants - not the service itself, but the voices. Right now, there's not a lot of variety out there for our choices for how our phone sounds when it speaks to us: maybe we can select between male and female, or choose from a few accents, but even that represents more options than many users have. But this piece of listener mail wasn't about what we prefer among available options: what if we could have our phone speak to us ...

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    Most of you already know that I began my digital life as a Newton guy. To this day my MessagePad 2000U could do things that even the latest smartphones running the most customized ROM still can't do. When it was later rolled back into Apple then killed off, I switched to Pocket PC. It was hobbled together and didn't come close to how well integrated Newton was. Not until Voice Command came along. Instead of a feature, MS Voice Command was a purchased app that you could install on your PDA. This had advantages and disadvantages, but brought with it a whole new way of interacting with your ...

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    The "flagship killer" that demands that you "NEVER SETTLE" breaks cover. The pioneer of the modern mobile browser shares his story. And at long last, Microsoft and Nokia finally consummate their love. We could have a feature segment, but with news this hot, do we really need one? Not with a guest like Stefan Constantinescu of TabDump to bring some flavor (and profanity) to the proceedings, that's for sure. A word on the language of this episode: we've recently ditched the "Clean" content rating that's been with us from the start of the Weekly, trading it in for Apple's ominous "Explicit" ...

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    It’s funny. Steve Jobs always used to talk about giving the people what they want before they knew they wanted it. In my experience with mobile technology, nothing has proven this concept more than voice control. It started with Windows Mobile voice control years ago. It came to the mainstream with Siri a few generations ago – generations from a mobile tech perspective that is. It continued forward with Google Now. Today, in addition to the aforementioned assistants, we have Cortana finally gracing the last platform hold-out. Being the Windows Phone fan that I am, I haven’t really ...

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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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