It is remarkable just how silent Microsoft has been on the matter. Almost everything we have heard so far about the rumored Cortana voice assistant has been from unofficial sources.
And now famed Microsoft watcher MSFTNerd is at it again with plenty of details.
Redmond may be gearing up to unveil Windows Phone 8.1 in early April (alongside Update 1 for Windows 8.1), but we already have a pretty good idea of all that is in store for us in this major refresh of the company’s mobile operating platform.
The Cortana voice assistant feature is a big part of the deal.
And according to the abovementioned report, the service is now in tiptop shape to land on Lumia smartphones in the next couple of months. The beta version is on track for launch on Nokia handsets sometimes in April. During or after the BUILD 2014 conference, be my guess.
But it’s not exactly rainbows and roses — there are catches.
First up is the claim that the voice assistant service will only be available for developers in the United States, with a global rollout expected later in the year. And that’s not all. Once it is released in final form, it will only be available in the US for a very long time. A very long time.
English speaking countries will only get access to it in 2015 or 2016, while complete international rollout might only happen much later, if at all.
Interestingly, however, Microsoft is keen to expand the service to US Xbox One and Windows users in 2015. In other words, when Windows Threshold goes live. The service will also arrive on the Bing application on the iOS, but again, only in the United States.
This staged and gradual rollout is not exactly a surprise considering how much Microsoft has to refine the service. But if all goes well, the company should have its very own answer to Siri and Google Now.