iOS has Siri, Android has Google Now, and Windows Phone will get assistance from Cortana

By James Geddes , Feb 21, 2014 05:07 AM EST

Microsoft is set to launch Windows Phone 8.1 with its very own digital assistant 'Cortana,' which reportedly has a Siri-like personality mixed with Google Now.

Apple is well known for inventing new products and services that seamlessly integrate into its devices to make its customers' lives easier. This was very apparent when Apple introduced the world to Siri with its iPhone 4S unveiling on Oct. 4, 2011. Siri wasn't invented by Apple and was actually a free app in Apple's App Store. Siri's creators had even announced that they would be bringing the digital assistant to BlackBerry and Android, but all that came to an end when Apple acquired the company and removed Siri from the App Store hours before Tim Cook took to the stage to announce the iPhone 4S.

The Cupertino company once again brought something to the table that its rivals would soon copy and counter with. Samsung first in line, announcing its version of Siri with its S Voice application, and Google quickly followed by introducing Google Now for Android. It's now time for Microsoft to bring a digital assistant to Windows Phone 8.1 and it will officially be called Cortana.

Cortana is named after Microsoft's very successful Halo game series and is said to be a combination of Siri and Google Now. Cortana will replace the built-in Bing search feature and button on Windows Phone 8.1 devices. While Microsoft's upcoming digital assistant is hardly news anymore, The Verge is now reporting that Cortana's appearance will be in the form of a circular animated icon and will be the color of the Windows Phone theme selected by users. The digital assistant will reportedly have a similar personality to Siri and will animate when it's speaking and will even show emotions like a frown depending on what is being asked. Microsoft will reportedly give Cortana its data from services such as Bing, Foursquare, and more, to bring more of a Google Now vibe to its assistant.

The digital assistant has been in development for some time and Microsoft is banking on making Cortana  as intelligent as Siri and Google Now in order to bring Windows Phone on a more level playing field with iOS and Android.

Cortana is expected to make its debut when Microsoft releases Windows Phone 8.1 sometime later this year, with current rumors claiming it will likely arrive in July or August.

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