Feeds

Microsoft's Brit kid Cortana lands on UK WinPhone 8.1, but China's is the real cutie

Siri rival gets accent in OS update

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Microsoft will be fine-tuning its virtual assistant Cortana in its first update to Windows Phone 8.1. The Siri rival is predicted to arrive on UK users' smartphones over the next few months.

The preview pack for developers is already out, of course.

Youtube Video

Cortana will be coming to folks in Blighty and China as a beta in the update and to Canada, India and Oz as an alpha release. In the UK, Cortana will have a local accent and will tailor her responses to local sports, the London Stock Exchange and commuter conditions, while in China, Cortana will speak Mandarin and come with a different appearance, animations and sound – specifically a cute oval face.

American users aren’t being left out either, with a number of Cortana tweaks in the update, including natural language improvements and “neat additions to her personality”.

Microsoft is putting a lot of focus on Cortana as a virtual assistant with context and personality, rather than just a voice-activated search service, and has left no doubt about which other virtual assistant it reckons Cortana is beating. A new ad for the assistant directly compared it to Apple’s Siri, mocking the latter for its lack of natural language skills.

As well as the Cortana updates, the Windows Phone package is going to include the ability to group apps into Live Folders on the Start Screen, improvements to the Xbox Music app and SMS merging. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.