Windows Phone 8.1 'Cortana' personal assistant detailed in new leak

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| Published: February 20, 2014

Nokia Lumia 1020

The past few weeks have brought a number of Windows Phone 8.1 leaks, including a video of the Action Center notification panel and details about Start screen backgrounds. One feature that we haven't heard much about, though, is the personal assistant known as "Cortana." The good news is that that's changing today, as a new report has revealed a number of new details about one of WP8.1's biggest new features.

Sources speaking to The Verge claim that Cortana will replace the Bing search functionality that's currently found in Windows Phone, offering users a mix of features found in Google Now and Siri. Cortana's design is described as a "circular animated icon" that adopts the user's chosen accent color and animates when it's speaking. The app is expected to be supported with data from Bing, Foursquare and other services so that it can offer contextual information similar to Google Now.

One major aspect of the Cortana personal assistant will be the Notebook. The Notebook will reportedly store information about the user, including location data, contacts and reminders. As Cortana is used, it'll ask if it can store information in this Notebook, and it's said that those details can be edited or deleted by the user. Other features expected to be included with Cortana include contextual info for weather and appointments, recognition of home and work locations and a Do Not Disturb feature similar to the one found in iOS.

If the rumor mill is to be believed, Windows Phone 8.1 will make its official debut at Microsoft's BUILD developer conference in early April. Along with the Cortana digital assistant, the update will include the oft-requested notification center and on-screen navigation buttons. The update is certainly shaping up to be a pretty big deal for the Windows Phone platform and its users, and thankfully we've only got a little over a month before it's slated to make its official debut.

Between all of the new features that are purportedly coming as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 update, which are you most excited for?

Via The Verge