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Microsoft to brand Windows Phone AI "Cortana" - report

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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Latest comments (14)

Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve3 years ago
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.
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James Boulton Tools & Tech Coder, Slightly Mad Studios3 years ago
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."
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Asif A. Khan, CPA Financial Reporter 3 years ago
Nintendo working on a Siri-like competitor, too. Rumor is they are going to name it Jigglypuff.
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Show all comments (14)
William Leu Software Developer, Tietronix Software Inc3 years ago
@Asif
Yea, but they're lazy about it. It just repeatedly says portions of it's name for all its answers.
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Antoine EMOND Community Development Lead, Ubisoft3 years ago
"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.
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Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext3 years ago
I am waiting for the Valve GlaDOS app.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd3 years ago
'Cortina' would be less naff an idea than this.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
I'm interested as long as Jen Taylor does the voice to make it more realistic.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
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...
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Tucson K Bagley Junior Artist, Dreamgate Studios3 years ago
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.
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
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.
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Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London3 years ago
Adam, you look so... cartoony ^^
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
@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...
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Adam Campbell Producer, Hopster3 years ago
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

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