Halo's sultry artificial intelligence Cortana (may she rest in peace, sad face) is being revived as Windows Phone's answer to Siri and Google Now. She is the voice-activated, Bing-powered personal assistant for Windows Phone 8.1, which Microsoft unveiled today.
Cortana takes the shape of an animated two-toned circle that looks, fittingly, like a halo. The icon will be the color of your Windows Phone theme, just one of the many ways the upgraded operating system will be "more personalized." Cortana is an ever-evolving, always-learning digital helper that keeps personal information like interests, important contacts, and most frequented locations in a "notebook."
She'll recognize patterns in your inquiries and ask if you'd like her to keep track of a topic for you. If you allow access, she can keep tabs on an upcoming flight or meeting. Since Cortana runs on the Bing search engine, she can also provide info like the best nearby restaurants or the weather forecast in any city.
The growing use of voice-enabled personalization tools in both iOS and Android was too evident for Windows Phone to ignore. We love Cortana's minimalist look and can't wait to give it a run when Windows Phone 8.1 rolls out in the next few months. Scroll down to get excited about Windows Phone's new AI technology and preview some more new features in the Windows Phone 8.1 update.