Move over Siri: Cortana Is on the Rise

Siri - Cortana for Windows want's to talk to you!

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave, you’ve heard otherwise perfectly sane people talk into their iPhones or iPads to deliver commands to their unseen servant, Siri:

“Siri, what time is it in Bangladesh?”

“Siri, where is the nearest pizza parlor?”

“Siri, when will pigs fly?”

She is a ton of fun, and her voice helped Apple rake in almost $86 billion dollars in revenue last year. Steve Jobs’ garage project has come a long way since he and Steve Wozniak turned out the first Apple computer in 1976.

Apple’s share of the market is slipping, though and Windows may have something to do with it.

Cortana Wants to Speak with You

Part of the new Windows 8.1 OS, the Windows Phone comes with a personal data assistant — Cortana, compatible with smartphones like HTC, Samsung and Nokia Lumia. Want to know how to get to the nearest Italian restaurant from your present location? Cortana (in harmony with Foursquare) can tell you that. Wondering how far it is to Honolulu? How many feathers there are in a ton? All you need to do is ask Cortana.

The girl seemingly has ALL the answers:

  • Cortana communicates with the Microsoft Bing search engine to find the answer to any of a zillion questions.
  • Cortana can remind you to call your mother, take out the garbage, or feed the cat.
  • She can get weather and traffic updates.
  • Cortana knows who is ahead at halftime in the big game.
  • She can guide you to the theater for a night out on the town.
  • Cortana might just be your new best friend.

How Windows Stacks up against Apple and Android

Is it time to switch to a Windows Phone? Many people are doing just that. Here are some reasons why.

Personalization: Windows bills itself as “The world’s most personal smartphone.” More than a tagline, it’s a big calling card for the Windows OS. You can pin your bookmarks, notes, maps, applications, music and more. Android allows you to reconfigure various screens, but the process is often a cumbersome headache. Apple revamped their home screen for iOS 7, but the small screen and faint font can make things hard to decipher.

Programs and Applications: One of the primary complaints heard from Apple users is “nothing is free.” Load up your wallet and head to the Apple App Store if you want to add functionality to your iOS phone. Android comes with Gmail, Google Calendar, and the like, but neither Apple nor Android can touch the extras that come with Windows like OneDrive, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Skype, which are all company-owned products. And a Windows phone hooks you up immediately. Yes, you can get Windows product access from your Android, but wouldn’t you rather go direct?

One more point. Android is tops for the sheer number of apps (most with free versions), Apple guards the hen house with the App Store, but Windows is designed to operate without loading the phone down with apps. When you do seek added functionality, though, the Windows Phone Store is open 24/7.

Speaking of Games: The Windows Phone has Xbox on board, right from the get-go. That includes games, for sure, but also Xbox Music and Xbox Video. No use mentioning Android and Apple here, because they have no way to match that trump card. Windows Phone may be the gamer’s one-device answer to mobility.

With a projected market share increase that will almost double current sales by 2018, Windows will still only claim 7 percent of the mobile market if the prediction comes true, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. Microsoft has seen its ups and downs over the years, but it is a workhorse company—consistently plugging along, trying to make things better. It is tough to not cheer for the underdog.