Apple (AAPL) has been a game-changer when it comes to consumer electronics - its smartphones or tablets. The company totally revolutionized the experience and the way consumers used to interact with their devices. No doubt the Cupertino witnessed huge acceptance and success. Following Apple’s success story, Google (GOOG) came out with the hugely successful Android which brought massive success to the company, so much that it currently holds the ace position as an operating system.
Microsoft (MSFT), a late entrant, tried following the same, but couldn’t pull it off the way its rivals did. The Redmond-based company suffered a disastrous start for the Windows Phone 7, which marginally improved after the launch of the Windows Phone 8. But still it’s nothing like what the other two biggies could manage and stays as a distant competitor in this space.
However, the computer giant hasn’t given up and is putting all its muscles behind getting the right combination of features together. Currently Microsoft is developing Cortana, a voice-enabled interactive system similar to the Apple Siri and Google Now. But, does Cortana have what it takes to challenge the market leaders?
Faceoff between Cortana and Siri
The development team of Cortona has made deep research on human assistants managing calendars or interceptors handling phone calls. Post interaction, Microsoft realized that the current virtual assistant lacks features to be more understanding and human like, so that it could better anticipate the users’ requirement. Corporate vice president of Microsoft Joe Belfiore believes that the Siri lacks this touch and this is exactly what the company aims to add in the Cortona.
No doubt Cortana has some Siri-like shortcomings. For questions that have more than one answer, Cortana would display the web searched multiple results for the user to do the spadework. But the app takes a step forward in figuring out the user perspective. For instance, it works to ascertain what question the user may ask. Now how does it identify them? The most often asked questions of the user, say, what’s the weather condition, or what’s the NFL football score, would be tracked by Cortana and she would proactively show the updated information on such queries.
In addition to this, Cortana would also be able to screen emails (only if the users permits to do so) and send a warning; say if the user’s flight has got delayed is cancelled. If the user’s has an appointment stored in the phone, Cortana would ask to leave a bit early in case of heavy traffic. In case you are travelling abroad, Cortana would automatically assist you post landing by providing the airport map, help you with language translation, and exhibit the local currency exchange rate.
According to research firm IDC, Microsoft’s smartphone operating system Windows scarcely held 3% of the global shipment that was made in the fourth quarter. But the tech giant wants to improve the scenario. Microsoft’s highly anticipated mobile operating system Windows Phone 8.1, will feature the high tech Cortana app, which the company claims would have more than Siri-like basic features in it. This is one of the company’s efforts to catch up with the top two in the smartphone market. Now that remains to be seen. Whether Cortana has an edge over Siri, would be clear only after a good mass of people use it. However, otherwise the app looks quite interesting and a good challenge to contend with the prominent players.