Microsoft's Cortana available in UK in less than two weeks with British accent

Microsoft has confirmed that the UK version of Cortana will launch for developers within the next fortnight.

The preview version of Windows Phone 8.1 will be provided with the beta edition of the virtual voice assistant via an update shortly. Cortana's full release is expected in the final three months of 2014.

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The news was revealed in a tweet by Cortana's group program manager, Marcus Ash, who confirmed that the software would be available in "less than two weeks." It has also been revealed that the UK version will come with a British accent.

UK users were first teased over the release back in May, with Microsoft's Twitter account promising that it would be arriving soon. The UK version promises better recognition of British accents and full support of localised services. UK-based developers will now also be able to customise their apps to work more closely with the voice assistant.

Mobile phone operators have also confirmed the UK release date, with O2 stating that it will support visual voicemail from launch.

Cortana is a virtual voice assistant similar to Apple's Siri and is capable of making calls, sending messages and connecting to third party apps such as Twitter and Facebook.

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The app was originally scheduled to launch in the UK alongside Windows Phone 8.1, but the release date has since been pushed back to the fourth quarter of this year.