Earlier today, the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 started trickling for users who are on Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers. As the Windows Phone team at Microsoft shared a few days ago, the latest update brings Cortana to China and UK in beta and to India, Australia, and Canada in India.

This early adopter program for the latter is opt-in, and gives people the option to try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK. Let's see how we can configure it for Windows Phone devices in these regions.

Steps to activate Cortana alpha version

Essentially, all you need to do is to change your speech settings to English US or UK. If any other permutation works, let us know in the comments.

  • If you've changed region or language settings previously to try out Cortana when it released for the US, revert to the original settings for your country. A restart maybe required if you change these settings. If you haven't, confirm that the settings are in order.
    • Language: English (India)/English (Canada)/English (Australia)
    • Country/Region: India/Canada/Australia
  • If you've not made any changes before, you'd need to start here and just change your speech settings.
    • Speech: English (United Kingdom)/English (United States)/English (United Kingdom)

How do you know if it works? Tap the search button, and you'll have Cortana greeting you rather than the vanilla Bing screen. The top right corner will inform you that it's an alpha version, so things might be awry or some features may not be available. Microsoft would be learning from the user behavior to improve the experience as the product evolves.

How do you find Cortana in alpha edition? Do you find any limitations or mishits? Tell us in the comments!