Next week in San Francisco, Microsoft will unveil Windows 9 for the press. Among the features of the new OS is reportedly going to be the virtual assistant Cortana.
A range of sites are repeating some early evidence found by a German site and also a discussion on Neowin that assert Cortana will be a central feature of Windows 9 experience. When Cortana was originally introduced earlier this year for Windows Phones Microsoft alluded to the idea that it/she would make its/her way across platforms eventually.
According to Neowin:
As of right now, Cortana is an app; it’s a simple app that opens up the personal digital assistant where you can then either type in your question or ask verbally inside a smallish window. It’s not a full screen experience like you see on Windows Phone.
The app itself currently looks similar to that of Windows Phone, but takes up roughly 25% of your display with Cortana being in the center; Cortana maintains her circle shape and is animated too.
Apparently Cortana will (ultimately) be deeply integrated into the OS. What’s less clear is how Cortana and Bing will co-exist — or if they will.
Windows Phone users can initiate a search using Cortana, as iPhone users can also with Siri (using Bing). We would thus equally expect that Cortana search capability to be part of the forthcoming Windows 9. The question is whether the Bing brand will be entirely subordinated to Cortana in the new OS. The technology will of course be there in the background regardless.
Virtual assistants are the successor to conventional search on mobile devices (call it search-plus), offering a broader array of capabilities. As Cortana makes its/her way to the PC and PC-like tablet devices does it signal the beginning of the end of the Bing brand?
Microsoft may see Cortana as a differentiating feature and a way to inject more utility and appeal into the PC, which has suffered consistent sales declines among consumers as mobile devices have become more prevalent.
According to Gartner estimates, Android OS devices will be more than 3X more common next year globally than those powered by Windows.
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