Video game buffs will know that Cortana is the name of the Ai companion in the famous Halo series. Microsoft no longer owns Bungie, the makers of Halo, but it seems to want to bring this artificial agent into the real world.
Cortana vs Siri: activating the voice assistant
Users activate Cortana in much the same way as Siri. Hold down the Search button on the Windows Phone (running the Windows 8.1 update), and Cortana will appear. Now speak the request, such as "call Alex" or "set an alarm for 8 o'clock" and Cortana will respond accordingly.
Unlike Siri, Cortana is designated as an app in Windows Phone. So it has its own icon that you can tap (this also activates Cortana).
Siri is activated by holding down the Home button on the iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
What neither system does, just yet, is persistently monitor the audio and respond when you say, "Siri" or "Cortana" out loud. You have to activate both systems by physically tapping the device. We're sure this functionality is coming at some point down the line, on both devices, but it probably has functionality and battery implications at the moment.
Siri vs Cortana: Which devices will run Microsoft Cortana
Cortana first came along as part of the Window 8.1 update. Today Cortana is available as what Microsoft deems a 'beta' to all users of Windows Phone 8.1 in the United States and the UK, as well as China Users in certain countries can also choose to opt-in to the alpha for the English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish versions of Cortana on Windows Phone. In most of these regions, Cortana is also available via Windows Insider to both PC and mobile preview users of Windows 10.
Windows 10 launches at the end of July 2015 as a free upgrade to all users of Windows 7 and Windows 8, on PC, laptop, tablet and smartphone. Cortana will be part of that update.
On PCs and tablets Cortana will be accessed through the search button in the taskbar, while on smartphones Cortana will still be brought up using the search key on the device. Microsoft has also announced that Cortana will soon be available on other mobile platforms. An Android release is set for July 2015 followed by an iOS release later in the year. So pretty soon you will be able to use both Cortana and Siri on your iPhone. Cortana is also coming to Xbox as part of the Windows 10 roll out. It's gonna be everywhere - like it or not.
Siri vs Cortana: What can you do with Cortana and Siri
Both Siri and Cortana offer a wide range of similar functionality. Both Cortana and Siri enable you to do the following tasks:
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