Behind Cortana and Siri's Battle: Apple Gets Bitten by Microsoft

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By Christine Joy Dacanay | August 4, 2014 4:10 PM EST

In this time and age, gadgets are getting smarter and smarter. Being able to accomplish a task with just a single touch on the screen display of your smartphone or a push of a button are some of several, but having a virtual assistant to help you out in accomplishing could be the game changer.

Two of the most well-known voice assistants nowadays is Microsoft's Cortana and Apple's Siri.

Siri, a Norwegian name which means "a beautiful woman who leads you to victory," was unveiled on iPhone-4S-iOS-5-iCloud.html" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Oct. 4, 2011 as a feature to one of Apple's flagship smartphones, the iPhone 4s. Since the release of the iOS 5, Siri has been an integral part of the Apple tablets and smartphones.

This virtual personal assistant is able to send messages, make phone calls, schedule tasks and meetings for you. Talk to Siri as you would to a real life personal assistant, as it is able to understand what you say and actually knows what you want her to do or accomplish. You can ask her to locate the nearest restaurant which you prefer, tells you real-time game scores, suggest or choose a movie, schedule flights and many more. Apple has also partnered with some of the top car manufacturers so it could integrate Siri into the vehicle's voice control system. With this feature, you will be able to focus on the road since Siri can help you. Apple partnered with Bing, Yahoo, Google, Gayot, Yelp, Eventful, Movie Tickets and several other sites so Siri can provide up to date infromation. To date, this virtual assistant, voiced by Susan Bennett (US) or Karen Jacobsen (Australian female voice), is able to assist Apple handheld device users from several countries around the world, which supports 10 languages.

Meanwhile, Cortana, Microsoft's intelligent voice assistant, is derived from the name of a popular AI character from the popular science fiction video game series Halo. Unveiled last April 2014, Cortana is now available to Windows Phone 8.1. Cortana, which is voiced by actress Jen Taylor, is currently released in the U.S., in China as Xiao Na, and in the UK. Australia, India and Canada will be able to talk to this smart voice assistant through their Windows Phone 8.1 phones or tablets this August.

Cortana is able to provide answers to its user via Bing Search. Microsoft also tapped Foursquare to provide information on local attractions and restaurants in the area. The company actually interviewed real life personal assistants in order for them to develop Cortana, a digital assistant that doesn't annoy the user with its unending notifcations and one that won't be too nosy meddling with the users personal life. With this in mind, Microsoft threw in the Notebook feature. The Notebook stores information like the user's interests, home location, work location, reminders and other personal information.

Recently, Microsoft released a video ad blatantly exhibiting how Cortana is able to outperform Siri. As the video shows, Siri and Cortana were given the same instructions at the same time and it was only the latter who was able to respond and accomplish the users commands. Not only that Cortana was able to provide add-on information that is relevant to the initial commands. This advertisement is also comparable to the iPad vs Surface Tablet ads that were created previously by Microsoft -- short, biting and witty.

The recent video also displays how a low-end phone (Nokia Lumia 635) is able to run a smart digital assistant and be more useful than Apple's high-end iPhone 5s given the situation.

 

*video from: Youtube/Windows Phone

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