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Windows Phone 8.1 Release Date: 'Cortana' Voice Assistant and Notification Center Coming To New OS Update

The Microsoft mobile operating system has been lagging behind the likes of Android and iOS for quite some time. However, the company is not counting itself out just yet as it prepares to roll out its latest Windows Phone 8.1 update for its operating system. Now it seems in order to keep up with its competitors, Windows 8.1 will be adding a notification center and a personal voice assistant inspired by Siri.

By Tyler McCarthy t.mccarthy@hngn.com | Dec 17, 2013 11:41 AM EST

Windows Phone
Windows Phone 8.1 operating system upgrade to bring 'Cortana' voice assistant and a notification center in 2014. (Photo : Reuters)

The Microsoft mobile operating system has been lagging behind the likes of Android and iOS for quite some time. However, the company is not counting itself out just yet as it prepares to roll out its latest Windows Phone 8.1 update for its operating system. Now it seems in order to keep up with its competitors, Windows 8.1 will be adding a notification center and a personal voice assistant inspired by Siri.

Sources have revealed to The Verge that the mobile operating system from Microsoft, set to launch in 2014 would feature the highly requested notification center, which will be enabled with a simple swipe down from the top of the screen - much in the same way the notification centers are activated on both iOS and Android.

According to The Verge, it's possible that a quick settings menu would be visible with a small swipe from the top down and a longer swipe would bring down the entire complete notification center.

In addition to the notification center, is a personal assistant named "Cortana." The company has reportedly been testing the technology for many months and it will be replacing the existing Bing search on Windows Phone to allow users to interact with their smartphone or tablet using a simple voice or text input commands. Cortana is expected to be very similar to Siri and Google Now in that it will hold conversational searches and give you location and context data.

While Microsoft gears up to release the OS update, its partner company Nokia is readying two handsets that will likely launch along side the new operating system. One particular device that has been codenamed "Goldfinger" is likely to include a 3D Touch system that can detect off-the-glass interactions. Nokia's second handset, condenamed "Moneypenny," will take advantage of the new on-screen Windows Phone 8.1 buttons. Although a lot of information on the app and testing on the features have been done internally, the update is not expected to be unveiled until Build 2014.

Tell us your thoughts on the new update. Does a Siri-like voice assistant and a notification center make a smartphone powered by the Windows 8 OS more appealing? What about Nokia's new prototypes? Comment and share your thoughts with us below.

 

Update: This article original had the wrong codename for the personal assistant. It has since been corrected to the proper name "Cortana."

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