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Cortana teased for UK release... 'soon'

Microsoft is teasing that Cortana will soon be coming to the UK. We're big fans of the Cortana voice assistant that comes built into Windows Phone 8.1, except for that it's currently limited to only the United States. That hasn't stopped people from working their way around the restriction, but Microsoft knows that the 6.8 billion people that live outside the USA might also want access to Cortana.

Microsoft said a few weeks back that they had plans to bring Cortana to the UK and China as part of the version 1 release (it's worth remembering that Windows Phone 8.1 is only available right now as a preview for developers). It's been quiet since then, but today the Windows Phone UK Twitter account posted this tease:

There's no way to be certain about how soon "soon" will be, though we're sure it will be, uh, soon. Indications are that a wide release for Windows Phone 8.1 with Cortana will be coming soon, though currently the next version of the Windows Phone operating system is only available on the Nokia Lumia 630.

Source: @WindowsPhoneUK; Thanks to Zapella for the tip!

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

202 Comments
  • And for the rest of the world cortana coming soon in 2047! On serious note, it's so sad and annoying that they decided to make Quiet hours and Geo Wifi on/off cortana exclusive, what a morons, i can't stand ignorance of MS sometimes Skype sucks bing rewards doesn't exist for the rest of the world Cortana is exclusive, unless you want to mess with your region settings and language What a joke, how do they expect WP to grow if they only care about the US Just my 2 cents ------------------------------------------------ EDIT: As the editor of the site, I found the spirit of the comment fine, but the tone was off putting. In short, I don't want coments filled with f-bombs, which are clearly inflamatory and attention grabbing like a child's tantrum to represent this site. I don't write like that and I expect more from our community. Post your frustration, but act like an adult.  -Daniel Rubino
  • Microsoft is working pretty fast. Might actually beat your predictions by a few decades
  • Cortana getting drunk off tea
  • Yeap, they promised Cortana for the rest of the world around 2015, this is one year after US launch. Pretty much fast, considering the regionalization and etc. Think about Siri ... 
  • This guy is just looking for a reason to complain. They give us positive news but he turns it into something ugly. Some people are just that negative and I'm sure that's just his perspective in life.
  • Lol
  • HAHA yeah
  • wish there was a like button on WPcentral.....nice post
  • Fast? Is it supposed to be a sarcasm?
  • You think it's easy, cheap and simple? You do realize that Cortana actually wasn't even "released" to the general public in US yet, just for Developers right?
  • Fast compared to before.
    I think Microsoft had been doing a lot better lately especially with everything that's been going on (Nokia, Xbox One, new CEO, Windows 8.1.1. Surface 3, surface mini, new stores, Cortana, Windows 8.1 preview...)
  • Microsoft took out a prime time advert during what is probably one of the most watched TV shows in the UK at the moment so let's hope it has some effect.
  • Works in Canada, eg: the restaurant recommendations work fine.  Though the USA might have adopted Canada as a bastard child when I wasn't looking.
  • Restaurant and other listings pale in comparison to what used to be available with Local Scout in WP7/8 though.
  • Yup, the old Local Scout during Windows Phone 7 was packed with information for Toronto. There's almost no information now for local info now. 
  • I found that disappointing
  • Lmaooooo
  • I agree dude, windows phone barely has any market share in US, yet Microsoft releases its services there first
  • That was my position until the statistics about app purchases, download, etc. were made public showing that USA is one of the countries in which WP has more presence. USA, India and China seems to be the natural markets to target although any English speaking country is easy by extension. I don't know but I think that Hindu is a complex language as is Mandarin. http://blogs.windows.com/windows/b/buildingapps/archive/2014/05/21/windows-and-windows-phone-store-trends-may-2014-update.aspx
  • Hindu - Religion Hindi - Language
  • Thanks, I was afraid that I got it wrong but I'll keep it in mind for the next time.
  • Google - your friend
  • well in India I think 90% of the Wp users will be just okay with English, we might have a problem with accent while talking with cortana, other than that English will do just fine
  • Google has products only in USA to? Google talk and Google wallet card.
  • I don't give a flying fuck about Google apart their fucking YouTube and soon Twitch If MS wants to win they have to beat the competetition, not to fucking copy it
  • Fuck yeah!
  • Generally when one beta tests something, they give it to a small population. You might want to calm down a bit, seeing as your complaints are already known by Microsoft. Localization isn't easy, and they're doing what they can. Don't expect a US based company to exclude their own country any time this century.
  • Oh really? Im not asking Cortana in my own language, i just want a fucking English version. Just for fucking Quiet hours and fucking favorite wifi places, jesus christ. Is it that much to ask?   Why do i have to change my region for such little yet important features?
  • Don't change it.
  • you do realize that Cortana isn't just the voice assist part right? I'm not sure how it's coded, but if it's grind together too closely I can see why they left it out until they can get the experience right. come to think of it, i just realized why Canada isn't getting Cortana at the same time as US - the bilingual law that requires both english and french to be present when companies release things....
  • +9000 to the last sentence.
  • Do you have anymore fucks to give?
  • Lolz.
  • I actually do and i will shove it up your ass
  • Hey! While I fully agree with your frustration and your criticism, I'M THE ONE with the monopoly on criticizing Microsoft around here! Don't you try to take my job, you hear? ;P
  • Im sorry but im a long time "rager", i have my rights to rage at MS.
  • lol It was a joke. Rage away (though I'm not sure the cuss words in bold won't lead to your comment being censored by the powers-at-be around here...)
  • Yeah i understood and i curse alot in this site, got loads of infractions, but i got a point
  • You are not alone dear i m,wid you....... India is big market for ms..... Even though not a single surface available here......satya d CEO OF MS IS AN,INDAIN.......f u ms....bt I m badly,missing surface pro 3 here in,India......
  • Wait a minute. So if you accumulate enough infractions, they turn into a point? Cool, so what happens when you get enough points?
  • You get the banhammer!!!
  • LOL!
  • Lol!!!!!
  • calm down dear.
  • Lol I caught that too
  • you're 100% right, Lumia 720 is my first and... last phone with Windows Phone OS, all is for the USA not for Europe - also the software - the same versions of applications are worse than on Android - in next 6 months I will back to Android.
  • goodbye.
  • On a serious note. The wp8.1 most people are running is a developer preview, not the official version.
    This is almost like going for beta testing and whining about bugs.
    So shut your trap for your own good.
  • Because WP8.1 dev preview isn't an RTM right??? /Sarcasm OFF
  • RTM doesn't mean complete anymore, just enough for manufactures to start testing and getting their updates I order. It is not officially released or supported yet to consumers.
  • That is only partly correct. RTM stands for "release to manufacturing" which means manufacturers can actually manufacture their products without any further intervention from Microsoft. WP 8.1 is stable enough to be shipped to consumers, with all the features it has included at that point. In fact, WP 8.1 is already "finished" for some phones. The Lumia 630 is already available for purchase in some countries and comes with WP 8.1. However, RTM is supposed to give the manufacturers time to add their specific firmware to the OS update for older phones (e.g. Lumia 920). The OS itself won't be redesigned, changed, etc. Additionally, Microsoft allows people with older phones to test the OS Update (Developer Preview) to get feedback prior to the official release (including the firmware) that is rolled out by the manufacturers later. Based on that feedback, they can provide further updates that improve stability and add missing features. So he's got a point here when he says that features are still missing on WP 8.1, because WP 8.1 actually is final for some phones. EDIT: Since Cortana is BETA even in RTM of WP8.1, people have no right to complain about her not being available everywhere.
  • Hmm... As far as I remember, Joe Belfiore said the build we got through the Developer Preview Program was not the final version of Windows Phone 8.1:
    "Developer preview is NOT final... There’s client-side software fixes we're still making, when UPDATES go out to existing phones they will come with "BSP" (low-level phone firmware) updates from the OEMs... and the Services (Cortana) are continually getting improved. SO... when you get an official update or buy a new phone, it'll be more polished than what you folks have now..."
    Here: http://www.wpcentral.com/joe-belfiore-ama
  • That's what they always say though. It's just an excuse to calm down unpatient people. In fact, WP 8.1 is already final for some phones, e.g. Lumia 630 (already available for purchase).
  • You said it first: "WP 8.1 is already final for some phones".
    The Lumia 630 and 930 were designed as Windows Phone 8.1 devices, so they tested it and polished it enough on them and they might have low level tweaks we don't. You can't compare the experience on those phones with the experience of those using the Developer Preview.
    What am I trying to say? That you should know that preview software is probably going to have bugs and glitches in various degrees. You shouldn't join the program if you don't have patient. Plus, this program was made available for app testing purposes, not as a "Consumer Preview". BE PATIENT, GUYS! :)
  • One thing though. When stuff does not work in WP8.1, like background tasks and lock screen for SD apps, users blame the app, not WP8.1. They don't care it's a preview.
  • Calm the fuck down, dude.
  • Loved this rant. Even better that most of it is true...
  • You angry much? It was very clearly explained why Cortana is US only right now and that whe would show up worldwide over the coming months..
  • Angry? I ain't angry mate, im fucking frustrated mate
  • Someone was not hugged enough as a child. :D
  • Yeah, there isn't as much pedophiles as there are in US
  • You mean Microsoft here don't you ;)
  • Sounds like you're angry especially when you are telling ppl to shove it up their ass.
    I don't take you seriously bc it seems like you want to see results but you are doing nothing about it except using the word fuck... After the fourth fuck you lost your point.
  • Can you imagine if an American company said that they would develop their ecosystem for another country first?
  • Did i asked for that? I just asked for fucking quiet hours which is already translated into all languages, you can easilly check it, but you can't use it, because Microsoft says NO NO to users without Cortana and Microsoft doesn't know that Europeans actually understand English
  • This comment echoes the feeling of all WP users outside US. We are second class citizens of a third class OS made by a short-sighted company with talented designers/programmers and idiotic decision makers.
  • Right on the spot man!
  • Also, its good to remember 8.1 devices are just releasing in many countries and 8.1 update is not yet officially available for most existing phones. So there is still time...
  • +620
  • Somebody needs to calm the hell down.
  • Seriously. Developer preview...
    What's so hard to understand?
    "Preview" chances are an update will come out shortly after the official release to fix any bugs and fix any consumer issues.
  • You fuckin tell em mate. While your at it, throw in some fuckn airplay - I wanna stream some shit to my xbox without fuckn around with some bullshit 3rd party app, a whats app app that fuckn works, fix that piece of shit skype so it can kick whats apps and iMessages ass out of the water and XBOX fuckn MUSIC. Omg that is the biggest fuck up ever in the history of fuckups. How did we go from ZUNE to that many moons later?
  • I totally agree with you on the quiet hours thing, there was really no reason to keep it a Cortana exclusive... Just sad :(
  • That's why my next phone is an Android one :)
  • Don't forget - Cortana is only for Developer Preview at the moment and the only people using it are a small collection of Windows Phone fanatics and their best buds or families who they also set the phone up for. LOL. Wonder if the UK will be ready at the time of the 8.1 update? (I mean... for non developer preview people, lol). Come on Aussie - come on, come on. LOL
  • Look mate I don't see why you got beef siri was the same story
  • You got told!
  • Microsoft is making big progress with WP. Cortana is great and I'm sure soon will be available to all Europe
  • Wow
    Relax for one its a developer release, its in beta.
    So it is expected despite MS lack of foresight...
    I rather use a Microsoft product over apple or android any day.
    I don't get Skype so big deal. I want your see your face I will see you in person. Hate this society, so negative and critical. Don't like q beta edition, then you shouldn't. Of downloaded a early release.. The nerve of some people. Learn to be positive. That's the problem with this society. Bunch of angry zombies...
  • 630 out tomorrow in uk so I guess it will be launched then
  • Got our 630's from Carphone Warehouse on Friday and its pretty good for the price, on Pay As You Go Upgrade from £89 in store. Personally would have paid the extra for: Dedicated camera button Front camera 520 Screen type (double tap wake) and sensors Camera LED light Overall for the price is a great handset however no Cortana sadly though loving the swipe keyboard (not certain on the type name)
  • Never much fun if your not English speaking :|
  • Already disabled, all these so called assistants are more hassle than useful. Cortana is just another toy.
  • Voiced by tilda swinton ....!
  • I actually use it all the time and I rarely ever talk to it.
  • Disagree Cortana's quick remind me and alarm setting by voice is superb.
  • Will she have a sexy UK accent?
  • She better have...
  • As someone who lives in London, what do you consider a sexy UK accent?
  • I think, normally, people consider the "sexy UK accent" the Queen's English leaning on exaggerated posh.
  • Any of the Spice Girls, Emma Watson, Kate Beckinsale..
  • Including the scouse one? Gosh.
  • Welsh, Scottish... Brummie? *shudders*
  • Toss up between Cheryl Cole and Janet Street-Porter.
  • Nope. Thick southern accent (US)
  • I heard localization for China is so easy with all those dialects to account for. No way Canadian English and French is harder to localize for than all of China.
    /sarcasm I guess not bothering with Canada makes sense seeing that there aren't even any carriers who stock windows phones here.
  • TELUS, Rogers, Fido, Koodo all stock Windows Phones. None of them have anything since the 625. I know for a fact that all the major carriers will be carrying "new" windows phones "this year". I have no idea what models though.
  • Exactly my point. We haven't seen any new models up here since the 1020. No mention of upcoming phones.
    I have a friend using my old 900 and I've been telling him since BUILD that we should have new phones this summer but it's not cool that we have no dates - not even rumors.
  • Check Youtube for some Welsh language and see if that's easy to localise </troll>.  
  • LoL I use Cortana I Alberta everyday on my telus Lumia 1020
  • Hurray for the metric system, at least!
  • Except the UK uses the Imperial system too (you know it's called "Imperial" by a reason right? It was created by the British Empire :P They just don't use that stupid Fahrenheit system anymore, though). While there are Brits that use the Metric system, normally the one used is the Imperial one. You know...Rule Britannia and all that.
  • Great Britain uses a weird dual system of imperial and metric, due to older folk not wanting to surrender their ye olde measurements to "Europe", and younger people having been educated in metric at school. So it's miles and yards on the roads, while no one under 35 knows how far a yard actually is, but food weights (vegetables, bag of sugar, etc) sold in metric, even though hardly anyone could tell you their own weight in metric. Pints of beer, litres of Coke. It's a mess, but people get on with it.
  • People argue the imperial system is superior. I have no idea what they're smoking. So I ask them, "how many miles are in a yard?"... And then I follow up with how many kilometers are in a meter :)
  • 1760 yards in a mile. Easy what's with you backward writing though?
  • That would make it around 0.000568 miles in a yard then ;) and 0.001 kilometers in a meter
  • Keeping Britain Great ;-)
  • Good point. I'm in Canada, so guess I may need to switch region from US to UK so weather etc through Cortana is in metric.
  • Good point! I'll be switching to UK for the Celsius if nothing else :)
  • Any idea when it get released in india?
  • First quarter of 2015. Still a long long way to go.
  • By which time Cortana will be released to ios & Android. Just saying...
  • by then, there would be something else, Cortana would be outdated
  • She won't be corrupt for 7 years...
  • Hurry up please
  • Do you think we might see a gdr update as well? I mean with the launch of Cortana for UK users...
  • Give me Whatsapp and Cortana and I'm back in WP for the long haul. There's been some great news of late - it's just so so annoying that those lazy Whatsapp devs are stymying the positive news!
    (UK, 1020)
  • t's worth remembering that Windows Phone 8.1 is only available right now as a preview for developers
    Strange...I thought there was the 630...
    , though currently the next version of the Windows Phone operating system is only available on the Nokia Lumia 630.
    Er....proof reading may be needed unless the word only, took on a vastly different meaning. 
    dverb   1. and no one or nothing more besides; solely. "there are only a limited number of tickets available" synonyms:
    at most, at best, (only) just, no/not more than, as little as; More 2. no longer ago than. "genes that were discovered only last year" or not?
  • That's odd. Is this a 'Soon' for Developer Preview users or a 'Soon' for the general public?
  • Well, there's something we haven't heard before, coming soon.
  • I have been wanting Cortana for a while and "Soon" to me just does not cut it. I want a confirmed release date now!
  • Maybe the Cortana release schedule was shortened?? Can I dream with that??
  • Sure but I think the important word here will be "dream".
  • China? Yeah.......? Eh..... What?
  • When will it cum to India?
  • Haha. Thats a really explicit way of putting it, but I love it :D I'm sure I heard it'll be third quarter of 2014 :)
  • 'cum' to India! O.o
  • India?????
  • About time!
  • Viet Nam, please .... !
  • Microsoft love the word soon :-)
  • Hello?! What with Poland! Year 2017 and nothing ?! We've got 30 WP Devices from all in Poland! In POLAND, WP is more popular than fu***ng iOS, and we haven't gor Cortana!
  • we will back to Android :)
  • Please, all systems, but NEVER android - it fu***ing system.
  • I'm sure that MS is aware of it's weaknesses. In business, they figure these things out by doing a SWOT analysis, or an alternate, but applicable tool. I get the impression MS does not want to draw a line in the sand only to be unable to meet the deadline and piss people off, like the OP. We have to be patient. Also, being guinea pigs, the US market, is not always fun for the participants when things don't work right. In addition, as it has been pointed out, if the US is least/smallest market, I wouldn't want to beta test on my bread and butter, Europe. Give Europe something fully functional because if it is buggy, far more pissed off people and potential loss of support. Who knows what they are up to, only MS does. Seems they are being cautious.
  • Takes nearly 3-4months to release Cortana in UK.
    Then if we calculate......
    196 countries ........
    Oh! Do I get Cortana in my country it before I die .
    Look like MS filled with most laziest developers
  • No Cortana, no WhatsApp and the world are still spins.
  • Actually I speak English to Cortana, but my region is Denmark. I don't speak Danish to Cortana, but do want local information for Denmark. Must be a fairly common scenario. Wonder if that will ever fly...
  • I use Google Now and even my Xbox 360 in english, even being in Brazil, because it works better. Microsoft is the only company that ties language and country so you have to set the US region to use its services in english. Xbox One has the same problem, since "Xbox On" commando doesn't work in Brazil also.
  • When india wil get official update 8.1 ?
  • Sooo soon then.
  • I don't understand why it's not in Canada yet. The accent is practically the same. They could've just rolled it out for for the US and Canada at the same time.
  • Suffer with us... No incentive being a neighbour...
  • I don't think it means Cortana will be out soon in UK. We had this same image posted by Microsoft Brazil last week via Facebook and Twitter but I doubt that Cortana will land here anytime soon.
  • Exactly. We saw this image of Cortana here in Brazil about 2 weeks ago and is probably just a tease.
    UK may see Cortana in 2 months but other countries/languages only will have support in 2015. Sadly.
  • Hmmm. I feel for the united kingdom customers. They sell huge amounts of Nokia phones here. And still no cortana.
    Microsoft I'm afraid are going to drop the batten long carried by Nokia. Not good for business im afraid. They should be making the loyal customers stay loyal. I no they need new ones and lots of them. But if they loose existing ones then they don't stand a chance . Get the finger out mic
  • And "soon" falls victim to semantic satiation. Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Why ms again doing errors still u don't find out open ur eyes... India is the best market for wp ...pls bring cortana as soon as possible...its not china uk its India pls ms :sad:
  • Don't be too sad. Cortana is fun and all but the novelty can soon wear off. I would also say that the current version of Cortana is still in Beta so needs a bit more work before it gets a general release
  • The optimal solution isn't restricting Cortana. They should make it optional anywhere in the world, even during beta. I don't care if Cortana understands Swedish (I'm way better with English than Swedish) and I would be perfectly satisfied if I could have region Sweden but still use Cortana as-is now. By forcing me to switch region to use the function I use a LOT I'm unable to purchase apps/games/music/videos without 2 restarts required, and for me, it feels more of a hassle to reboot to be able to purchase one thing, and then reboot again to get Cortana back.
  • Good thing I am going back to iOS!
  • Have fun ;)
  • Happy ever getting bored
  • Canada any time soon Microsoft, I was using Cortana in Can for a while and it worked beautifully only problem was everything was in imperial other wise it found all the local places and location reminders we working great etc....
  • I don't understand why is it that difficult to bring Cortana to Canada! Is the British or Chinese implementation that much easier?!!
  • All your Cortana and Whatsapp are belong to us.
  • Really cool. Hope Cortana and full Bing comes to Norway too. They don't need to make it specially for Norway, Bing for Scandinavia would work fine too. But with Norwegian speech of course.
  • I want it officially in India..
  • If its the same "soon" they used for when Whatsapp will return, then it could be lengthy wait