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Siri Braces for Competition

Makers of Windows phones such as Nokia's Lumia are getting ready to reveal "Cortana"

Siri wasn't just a phenomenal technological achievement. "She" also segued into the core of pop culture, serving as a guest star on hit shows like "The Big Bang Theory" and some even say serving as inspiration for the Oscar-nominated film "Her." However, it looks like she's about to have some stiff competition as makers of Windows phones such as Nokia's Lumia are getting ready to reveal "Cortana." With a more exotic name, this digital PA might just give Siri a run for her money according to a recent report in The Verge. With Microsoft behind the project, Cortana has piqued every tech geek's interest, but does she have what it takes to make Siri lovers stray?

According to The Verge, they have "sources familiar with Microsoft's plans" and claim that Cortana will be revealed at the Build Conference in San Francisco in April 2014. She'll be a part of the 8.1 update for the Windows Phone, but little else is revealed (yet). Just like any mistress or temptress, Cortana is giving potential suitors just enough to keep things interesting, but suspense is a powerful tool. However, there's a hint about what Cortana can do in her name, which is that of the holographic familiar to the Master Chief in the legendary Halo franchise.

Courting Cortana
However, it's expected that this Cortana won't be the voluptuous blue vixen that gamers are used to, but will instead be identified simply as a blue circle. Complete with voice activation, these are just a couple of the details which have been derived from a leaked screenshot of the upcoming addition.

Soon, owners of Windows Phones like the Nokia Lumia will be able to use "Cortana," a digital personal assistant, reports The Verge. Media outlets, including NBC News, have been panting at Microsoft's door for more information, but so far the details of Cortana's debut are kept sealed. However, early murmurings (compliments of The Verge) reveal that Cortana will probably be helpful with location information, appointment reminders, and can help store contact information along with other basic tasks. In other words, she's every bit a digital, virtual personal assistant.

Email management
That's nothing new, but what is catching a few eyes are the rumors that Cortana will have the ability to search through emails to find key words that users are looking for, or pinpoint flight information. She'll be happy to customize her searches easily, which is another something in common she has with Samantha of "Her." Even better, it's alleged that she'll be happy to call users by a favorite nickname, which is yet another way for Halo fans to indulge in a little fantasy. However, these are still just rumors gleaned from leaks, "sources" which have yet to be named, and when it's all coming from one source (The Verge) with no complementary backed up sources, it's tough to tell just how legitimate this information is.

Regardless, Windows phone fans are sure to be at least a little intrigued, and for those who have grown a little tired of Siri already (even though it's nowhere near seven year itch time) might check out what Cortana has up her sleeves. Will she have more skills when it comes to helping travelers get to their destinations, from the Smoky Mountains to the Bahamas, than her counterpart? Will she have a certain flair when pronouncing your well-earned moniker that only your closest friends know you by? It will all be revealed in due time, but if Cortana can deliver things that Siri just can't, that might be enough to, in the words of Usher, "leave the one I'm with and start a new relationship with you."

More Stories By Drew Hendricks

Drew Hendricks is a writer, as well as a tech, social media and environmental enthusiast, living in San Francisco. He is a contributing writer at Forbes, Technorati and The Huffington Post.

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