The imminent Microsoft takeover of the Lumia brand from Nokia sometime during 2014 has already made headlines. Now the software giant from Redmond is about to revolutionize the experience of all the windows mobile devices. The introduction of an updated Windows Phone 8.1, also named “Blue”, will have additional features including a notification centre and a digital voice-assistant. Tom Warren revealed this on The Verge, claiming his source to be “familiar with Microsoft’s plans”. The news has created great sensations amongst the media. What is really sensational is the report on Cortana, the voice-assistant which is reportedly to be introduced in the new version of Windows Phone 8.1. Warren also writes that Microsoft intends to launch these features during the Build Developer Conference to be held in San Francisco in April 2014.
Cortana has been named after the famous super-computer from Halo, an Xbox video game series. While digital voice assistants in phones are not new, this is the first time Microsoft is coming up with one of their own and it will be interesting to see how Cortana fairs in comparison to Siri, the already popular digital assistant of all Apple devices
. Warren’s report can actually be supplemented by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s comments during July this year when he said that Microsoft was looking to create its own voice-assistant to function as a “service-enabled shell” and would also act on a personalized level. Cortana is expected to have the ability to note behavioural aspects of the user and interact accordingly besides having all the other basic features like location tracking and analyzing data. The assistant will have access to all the sources at offer by Microsoft Bing which will be integrated within the Windows 8.1. Microsoft is already testing this device and it is expected to be the biggest feature of the Windows 8.1 Blue.
The Notification Centre has attracted less attention than Cortana, but the former is also the first of its kind in a Microsoft device. While Androids and iOS devices had this feature since long, people using a Microsoft device had to face difficulties to see and arrange their notifications. As reported, the new feature will include a quick setting which can be accessed with a vertical short swipe from the top of the screen. A longer swipe would reveal a comprehensive history of notifications. VPN support will also be added along with greater connection to Twitter
. Interestingly, a declared “machine learning technology” is also being developed by Microsoft which, as they claim, will give a Microsoft device the ability to assess its surroundings.
Meanwhile Nokia is rumoured to have developed a “3D Touch System” for new devices code-named Goldfinger and Moneypenny which are to be used with the Windows 8.1 Blue. This new devices can actually recognize movement above and around their glass surfaces. So it is expected that Microsoft would launch the Windows 8.1 (Blue) integrated within these new devices sometime in 2014.