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Microsoft unveils Siri-rival Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1

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Microsoft today unveiled Windows Phone 8.1's "personal digital assistant," Cortana.

Though the name is inspired by the AI in the Microsoft's Xbox exclusive Halo franchise, Cortana's functionality offers services similar to that of the iPhone's Siri. That is, "she" helps manage your basic phone functions, like setting appointments, performing searching, playing music, and setting "quiet hours."

Sadly, Cortana isn't actually represented by the buxom blue beauty as seen in the Halo games, but rather a circular icon that adopts the same color scheme as your Windows Phone theme. When she speaks, the icon pulsates and it rotates when searching for an answer to your question. One of Cortana's attractive qualities is the ability to answer incomplete questions, such as "how about in Celsius?" as the follow-up to the initial question "what's the temperature in Las Vegas?"

Cortana will launch in beta first in the United States, with a rollout in the UK and China following shortly afterward.

[Image: PCWorld]

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Matt Liebl You can follow Senior News Editor Matt Liebl on Twitter @Matt_GZ. He likes games, sports, musicals, and his adorable dog, Wrigley. And his wife.
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