Business users shouldn’t let the lack of an integrated personal assistant stop them from picking up a Windows Phone. Reports indicate that Microsoft is ready to update the Windows Phone 8.1 mobile operating system this spring with an application similar to the iPhone’s Siri and Android’s Google Now, codenamed “Cortana.” The addition of a productivity-boosting virtual assistant on the platform could help Windows Phones compete as top-tier business devices.
Like Siri and Google Now, Microsoft’s virtual personal assistant would enable business users to be more productive with context-sensitive voice commands. The app would reportedly be powered by Microsoft’s Bing search engine to deliver context-sensitive, on-demand search results and answers to queries. On Android and iPhone, the feature gives business users a convenient, hands-free way to set reminders, access transit directions, make calls and much more.
It’s possible that Cortana could also incorporate the automated, context-sensitive push notifications featured in Google Now. On Android phones, the service automatically notifies business users of travel and flight delays, package delivery, weather events and more. Google Now attempts to anticipate what users will need before they ask for it.
Microsoft has yet to confirm any rumors surrounding a personal assistant app for its Windows Phone platform. But if the rumors are true, the productivity tool could help put Windows Phone devices on a more level playing field with smartphones that are competing for business users.