Microsoft Cortana Is Cool, But Not Coming To Australia For Quite A While

The good news? The forthcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update will include Cortana, a Bing-powered virtual assistant that lets you talk to your phone and have it do things, Siri-style. The bad news is that it won't be out in Australia for quite a while.

Microsoft demonstrated Cortana at its Build 2014 developer conference in San Francisco today. It allows you to make queries either by voice or by typing, including the kind of alarm setting and search functions that are familiar on iOS and Android devices. One aspect that's particularly appealing: you can track what Cortana knows about you and interacts with you and customise it via a "notebook" feature, so you can eliminate stuff you no longer care about or set "quiet hours" when you shouldn't be interrupted.

However, Australians shouldn't get too excited. Initially, Cortana will only be available as a beta in the US. It will subsequently expand to other countries. Corporate vice president Joe Belfiore singled out the UK and China as future destinations, but didn't mention Australia. We're not going to see it before 2015 at the earliest.

That's not altogether surprising. Firstly, the Australian accent is semi-notorious for breaking speech recognition systems. Secondly, Cortana is heavily reliant on Bing, and Bing's capabilities in Australia are (to put it kindly) a lot weaker than in the US. I'd imagine we'll see it eventually -- but for now, voice recognition is one area where Windows Phone will remain well behind its rivals in the Australian market.

Disclosure: Angus Kidman travelled to San Francisco as a guest of Microsoft.


    sorry, but where did 2015 come from?
    Giz said you were told by MS, but you only repeat what was said at //build/ here.

    MS-Cortana: It looks like you are writing a letter. Would you like help with that?
    Please press and say either 'Yes' or 'No Cortona, I really would prefer to write this myself.'

    Wow. After I drank the KoolAid & left Android for WP8 on a Nokia 920, I've been desperately waiting for MS to fix/add all the missing features. After this news, *any* thought of me sticking around for WP8.1 has now completely evaporated, and it's just a matter of time before I jump straight back to Android whenever the Sony Xperia Z2 arrives in AU.

    Cortana will be in Australia next week.

      I know this is an old post but..Bitterly disappointed. Windows 10 is nice but as of 22/05/2015, still not coming to Australia. Released in China as far as I know and their language is a million times more complicated than ours.

      I was so looking forward to this feature. Frustrated.

    OOPS, I meant to say 'Cortana' in the above post

    I am Australian and Google now and siri understands me, not everyone has a Aussie accent.

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