Microsoft’s Cortana is certainly a work in progress, even here in the US where it’s officially available. China and the UK are on the immediate horizon for rollouts, with other regions to follow soon. With all of that work ahead, it makes sense that the Cortana team will want to have a regular update schedule, and much like the Xbox Music app, it looks to be bi-monthly.
In an interview over at Engadget with the Cortana team, updates to the Cortana system will evidently happen twice a month with the possibility for off-cycle updates “for things that are timely, urgent or especially badass." The ability to update Cortana dynamically will ensure that her chitchat (small conversations pieces, voiced by Jen Taylor), will be current and relevant, reflecting any significant cultural happenings.
We’ve already reported on some updates to Cortana, including her voice becoming less robotic and even some new features (which were quickly pulled). That’s all possible since Cortana is a server-side system, allowing Microsoft to push out updates on their end. Pages viewed in Cortana are rendered in HTML5, giving Microsoft flexibility without OS updates on the phone themselves.
Microsoft is focusing on replacing the computer-generated voices with that of Jen Taylor’s (the original voice of ‘Cortana’ from the Halo series), but users should expect new features and the AI becoming more robust in the future. Combined with the heavy task of regionalization (China reportedly needs a voice that "sounded like it was smiling”), and Cortana has a chance of standing out from the pack of Siri and Google Now.
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