Microsoft released Windows Phone 8.1 to those who enrolled in the developer preview program (i.e., everyone).
Ars' Peter Bright in his review of 8.1:
The result feels a whole lot more mature and a whole lot more capable than its predecessor. The 0.1 version bump, chosen to align the phone platform with its desktop sibling, belies the true nature of this upgrade. It is substantial, and makes Windows Phone tremendously better.
We might still wish that there were a few more apps, and that developers spoke of the platform in the same breath as iOS and Android, but even in spite of this, Windows Phone 8.1 is a polished, fun, clever, and personal smartphone platform that's just about everyone can enjoy. It's a magnificent smartphone platform.
Update: Here's an 8X with Cortana working just fine, so the original worries clearly aren't necessary.