Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Dec 2013 22:57 UTC

Microsoft is preparing to ship its Windows Phone 8.1 update with two significant changes: a notification center and a Siri-like personal assistant. Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans have revealed to The Verge that the company is currently beta testing copies of Windows Phone 8.1 internally, with plans to fully detail its features at BUILD 2014 in April. A highly requested notification center feature will be added to the software, and we're told it's enabled by swiping down from the top of the screen in a similar way to iOS and Android.

Pretty sure this update will turn it all around.

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Voice interfaces
by atsureki on Tue 17th Dec 2013 12:00 UTC
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I'm waiting to see just how Siri-like they can get. Bill Gates was the torch bearer for voice-controlled interfaces for at least a decade, and here Microsoft has just released the Xbox One, with the worst kind of rigid lexicon of context-ignorant voice commands, a complete throwback to the very reasons voice didn't take off as an interface until Siri (which it arguably still hasn't, since speed and accuracy remain problematic). It's like if they just now released a touch device that required the user to learn a gesture alphabet. If they can get a real natural language assistant working, it'll be a nice check in the feature column for the phones and tablets, but potentially a huge upgrade for the iffy Kinect.

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