For some time, Windows Phone struggled to keep up with iOS and Android in many areas, especially with having a decent and usable notification system. Now that Windows Phone 8.1 brings the platform into the modern age, Microsoft saw it fit to throw in a personal assistant, too.
Like Siri's early days, Cortana is in a beta stage. That means it has a long way to go as far as Microsoft is planning, but we were pleasantly surprised with the results that it gave us. It's pretty clear that Microsoft has put the work into its personal assistant before releasing it in its beta stage.
Any good personal assistant will keep track of your schedule, reminders and take note of the things you're interested in. Cortana mostly nails all of those things, and then some. When you open up Cortana, it shows you news, traffic and other bits of information that might be useful to you, just like Google Now. Siri doesn't really do that.
Talk to me, Cortana
But like Google Now and Siri, Cortana will also take your orders via voice recognition. You can ask Cortana to do simple things, like setting alarms and calendar appointments. However, like Siri, Cortana will also take on more advanced questions, with a few Easter eggs in its set of responses.
Once Windows Phone 8.1 becomes available to the public, everyone will be able to try out the voice-recognition system on Windows Phone handsets. Accessing it is easy - you just press and hold the search button on the home screen and Cortana is reatdy for your every whim and command.
You'll have to watch the video to see how Microsoft's new Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant holds up against the competition, but we will say that we're very curious to see just how much Cortana will get better over time. It's already great.