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Windows Phone 8.1 to arrive in April with Siri-like assistant

Notification center and on-screen controls are also tipped
Tue Dec 17 2013, 10:32
Nokia Lumia 1520 has a 6in 1080p HD display

SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft's next generation mobile operating system, Windows Phone 8.1 reportedly will launch next April with a Siri-like voice assistant feature.

That's according to The Verge, which has heard from "sources familar with Microsoft's plans" that the firm will launch Windows Phone 8.1 at its Build conference in April 2014, along with some noteworthy features.

Chief among these will be a voice assistant feature, similar to Apple's Siri and Google Now, which at present goes by the codename of 'Cortana'. According to The Verge, this feature will replace Bing search on Windows Phone devices, and will offer conversational interaction and the ability to learn location context and data from the phone.

Windows Phone 8.1 reportedly also includes a notification center, which much like on iOS and Android devices will be accessible by swiping down from the top of the screen. The Verge has heard that Microsoft will also allow users to access Quick Settings by doing a short swipe from the top of the screen, while a longer swipe will enable the drop-down notifications menu.

Although these are perhaps the most notable features, they aren't all that Microsoft reportedly has in store for Windows Phone 8.1. There's also talk of separate volume controls allowing users to control ringtone volume independently of media playback, Bing Smart Search results, better Facebook and Twitter integration in People Hub, and VPN support for enterprise customers.

Microsoft likely will launch Windows Phone 8.1 at its Build conference in April 2014, and Nokia reportedly has two phones lined up, ready to ship following the announcement. Codenamed Goldfinger and Moneypenny for characters in an ancient James Bond film, the devices will feature a 3D touch system for input without touching the display, and new on-screen shortcut controls.

Microsoft has yet to comment on the speculation. µ


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