Even though Cortana shares some major design traits with Google Now, there is no denying that the new Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant actually feels more like a Siri rival. That is due to their uncanny wittiness and human-like personality, two things that are just not there in Google's (clinical, albeit mighty powerful) offering.
Cortana is gunning for Siri as the latter is a more talked-about personal assistant than Google Now is (and will likely ever be). So it should come as no surprise that, in a new Windows Phone 8.1 ad titled Happy Anniversary, Microsoft pits the two against each-other. And, obviously, Cortana embarrasses its opponent.
Coming from Android or iOS, Windows Phone 8 is an eye-opening smartphone operating system. It sets the bar pretty high when it comes to looks and performance -- the design is simply beautiful and refreshing, and the software responsive and fluid -- but it never really manages to outshine its main rivals. After living with the HTC Windows Phone 8X for a while, I can't help but notice glaring oversights in an otherwise solid proposition. The package is not complete.
You see, being pretty and going fast does not cut it among the fierce world of Android and iOS. Microsoft needs to take a good look around and take charge by solving the shortcomings of Windows Phone 8. Fact is, it's easy to pick faults with the immature app selection, like many journalists do, but that's more of a chicken and egg problem. What the software giant has to do is build on the current platform by offering better basic functionality, functionality that's necessary for a greater user experience.
Some companies really know how to maximize marketing, and drive up their share price in the process. In March, Apple used a countdown clock to boast about 25 billion App Store downloads. Google's mobile store reached the same number this week, announced with little fanfare today.
Apple shares traded for about $531 then, but rose sharply following the app milestone and thereafter fairly consistently in the wake of a series of well-marketing managed announcements or product releases, topping $700 this month. There are daily reports across the InterWebs about record share price. Meanwhile, more meager marketer Google, which share price also flies record high this month -- above Apple, at $764.89 peak -- is largely ignored. Perhaps pro-Apple bias contributes to the silence? Whatever, Google has big numbers of its own.
A new iPhone is Apple's chance to drive competitors nuts, to take technological innovation to new heights and to leave the stage with a justified smug look, but as the dust settles from yesterday's launch event the new handset feels dated already. The Cupertino, Calif.-based corporation should smash the competition to bits but that hasn't happened, has it?
iPhone 5 is not the revolutionary product that could set the world on fire and just like my colleage Wayne Williams I wonder "Hey, Apple, where’s the innovation?" There is a saying that's perfect for landmark product releases: "Go big or go home" and Apple should have followed the former not the latter for what will most likely be flagship device over the next year. It's not enough to sway the current cutting-edge Android smartphones to the curb, so how can it when there will be fierce competition from Windows Phone 8 devices like the Nokia Lumia 920 or Samsung ATIV S?
Nuance Communications, Inc., the company known for Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software, the Swype virtual keyboard, and T9 text completion has just announced its very own digital mobile assistant platform named Nina.
Nuance, who also contributed behind the scenes to Apple's Siri, is taking a different approach with Nina. Nina will be released as a global speech-based virtual assistant for both iOS and Android mobile apps, and will also come with a Virtual Assistant SDK.