The ranks of mobile device digital assistants are about to get more crowded.
Microsoft (MSFT) is reportedly preparing to introduce a new voice assistant feature in its upcoming Windows 8.1 smartphones. The purported digital assistant will be called Cortana, drawing its name from a character in the popular video game Halo, PC Magazine notes.
The new digital assistant is said to adapt to user behavior and can extend beyond Windows phones to the Xbox console and possibly Windows-running computers. The feature will use technology that Microsoft acquired from the purchase of TellMe in 2007.
Cortana will join Apple‘s (AAPL) Siri and Google‘s (GOOG) Google Now voice assistants. Siri appears only on iOS devices, though Google Now is available as an app for multiple mobile platforms. Samsung also offers its own voice assistant on some of its smartphones.
Rumors that Microsoft would launch a digital assistant have circulated for some time. A company executive was quoted earlier this year in media reports suggesting that the software giant was actively working on a digital assistant.
Apple’s Siri was heavily touted as the major feature of the iPhone 4S, but hasn’t been as strongly promoted in subsequent iPhone releases.