We've known about Microsoft's upcoming Cortana voice assistant for a while, but now we have a much clearer idea of just what the Siri-rival will be capable of.

LiveSino.net has been able to pull a Cortana icon set from the Windows Phone 8.1 SDK, which shows that not only can the Cortana voice assistant do basic things like web searches, set alarms and check the weather, it can also give you information on stocks, warn you of heavy traffic or roadworks, take notes, play music and make appointments.

Powerful pipes

Plus it can set reminders, activate do not disturb mode and airplane mode, turn Bluetooth or Wi-Fi on and off, give you directions, make calls, send texts and more besides.

With Siri and Google Now both household names Cortana will have a lot of catching up to do, but with all these features it's got a good chance of impressing people, particularly if, as rumoured, the Cortana voice actress from the Halo series lends her pipes to the service.