Microsoft is ready to unleash its Siri-killer Cortana digital assistant to UK developers as early as next week in a move that it hopes boosts the company’s smartphone operating system.
Responding to a question on Twitter from @WindowsPhoneUK, Marcus Ash, group manager for the service, confirmed “barring an unforeseen issue, down to less than two weeks for the developer preview.”
This specifically involves the UK version of its developer preview for Windows Phone 8.1 devices and means that developers in this country will be able to get ready for Cortana’s release later this year.
Cortana was first announced earlier this year and has already gone live in the US in beta form when rumours started to swirl in May that the personal assistant would be live in the UK by the end of the year – a date that it has since confirmed as late 2014.
The voice assistant works in a similar way to both Google Now and Siri in that it makes suggestions based on various things it has learnt about the user but goes further than that with increased personalisation and extensibility to third party services.
During the development of Cortana, a number of human personal assistants were interviewed in order to make the experience as realistic as possible and it uses Bing’s search technology to provide suggestions that are as personable as possible.
When Cortana does hit the UK there are rumours that it will come complete with an English accented assistant and that could be revealed next week when the company’s developer preview hits the UK.
China gets Cortana at the same time as the UK later on the year before it expands to a range of new markets in 2015 and it could well be the kick up the backside that Windows Phone 8.1 has been pining after for so long.