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Microsoft to brand Windows Phone AI "Cortana" - report

By Matthew Handrahan

Microsoft to brand Windows Phone AI "Cortana" - report

Fri 13 Sep 2013 10:05am GMT / 6:05am EDT / 3:05am PDT

Halo's female computer will inform identity of Siri-like voice recognition technology

Microsoft is developing a voice technology to compete with Apple's Siri and Google Now, and, in a nod to Halo, it will be branded "Cortana."

According to report on Zdnet, which is just one of many sites claiming to have evidence of its existence, the Cortana app will function in a similar manner to Siri. As such, using the name of Halo's advanced, learning AI makes sense. The app will evolve and change with use, just as Cortana does in Bungie's popular franchise.

Zdnet's sources indicate that Cortana will be a central feature of Microsoft's strategy for Windows Phone in the future. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO, has referred to the development of AI voice technology frequently over the last few years, including a memo from July, as the company prepared for its internal re-organisation.

"Our UI will be deeply personalized, based on the advanced, almost magical, intelligence in our cloud that learns more and more over time about people and the world. Our shell will natively support all of our essential services, and will be great at responding seamlessly to what people ask for, and even anticipating what they need before they ask for it."

Despite struggling to make much progress in gaining ground on iOS and Android, Microsoft's resolve to make its Windows Phone platform work remains undiminished. At the start of this month, it bought long-time partner Nokia's Devices and Services business for $7.2 billion.

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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve

371 354 1.0
I guess with all that R+D for voice recognition with the Kinect, it was only a matter of time till they bought it to their phones.

Posted:3 years ago


James Boulton Tools & Tech Coder, Slightly Mad Studios

146 186 1.3
I read that as Cortina. I thought it was strange naming some voice recognition after an old car until I re-read it. It wont be long before your phone starts saying "What are you doing Dave? This is highly irregular."

Posted:3 years ago


Asif A. Khan, CPA Financial Reporter

33 88 2.7
Popular Comment
Nintendo working on a Siri-like competitor, too. Rumor is they are going to name it Jigglypuff.

Posted:3 years ago


William Leu Software Developer, Tietronix Software Inc

8 16 2.0
Yea, but they're lazy about it. It just repeatedly says portions of it's name for all its answers.

Posted:3 years ago


Antoine EMOND Community Development Lead, Ubisoft

6 0 0.0
"the Cortana app will function in a similar manner to Siri": it goes a bit further than that according to leaks. ;) Windows Phone already benefits from a good voice reco system, it was possible to launch any apps with voice way before this simple thing was added to Siri.
"Despite struggling to make much progress in gaining ground on iOS and Android": finally, WP starts to take-off. Took time but the trend is really good since a few months.

Posted:3 years ago


Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext

171 120 0.7
I am waiting for the Valve GlaDOS app.

Posted:3 years ago


Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd

439 1,192 2.7
'Cortina' would be less naff an idea than this.

Posted:3 years ago


Paul Jace Merchandiser

1,201 2,054 1.7
I'm interested as long as Jen Taylor does the voice to make it more realistic.

Posted:3 years ago


Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,611 1,686 0.6
Ugh. I keep seeing the word "magic" used when Microsoft talks about this "could' thing and sorry, that's a bad joke there. That and Halo fans will be the only people in on the joke. Anyone else won't give a crap what the "AI" is called as long as it doesn't make them walk into an open manhole or drive off a cliff...

Posted:3 years ago


Tucson K Bagley Junior Artist, Dreamgate Studios

9 25 2.8
If it's voiced by Jen Taylor this could be the only reason I would consider purchasing a windows phone, just as long as I could get it to periodically nag me about the direction I'm headed and the time I'm taking to do something.

But hey, that's just because Halo is what got me into games so I'm terribly biased. Honestly, I agree with Greg. Haha, nice little injoke for Halo fans for about five seconds, but really, how well the thing works is the deciding factor here, and it could be named "Sara" for all I care as long as it was useful.

Posted:3 years ago


Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster

1,472 1,576 1.1
Surely people realise that just because the media makes a report on this name reference, it doesn't mean that the name is considered more important than the functionality of the software?

As for the name itself, well, it makes a certain amount of sense. Why not name it after a popular, fictional A.I from a franchise they happen to own? I think its a good touch and better than some random name.

Posted:3 years ago


Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London

278 789 2.8
Adam, you look so... cartoony ^^

Posted:3 years ago


Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,611 1,686 0.6
@Adam: Oh, no doubt it makes sense... but I did a test this past weekend at the library and out of 100 people, ONE adult I asked knew who Cortana was while 40% of kids between 11 and 18 did. I guess if those new phones will do well as far as that name recognition goes among the young while everyone else won't care unless the functionality is something they need. Hell, Microsoft could have called it Kameo, Joanna or even Banjo and it wouldn't make a difference at all...

Posted:3 years ago


Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster

1,472 1,576 1.1
Well, I think this is the point. Its just a name. I doubt anyone internally expects success criteria and sales to be based on the name. Its no more than a reference.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Adam Campbell on 17th September 2013 11:33am

Posted:3 years ago


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