Microsoft’s Cortana has been very well accepted in the US and UK where it’s already rolled out in beta state. Now Microsoft is ready to remove the beta tag from the assistant as well as add it to more markets. The next ones to get access to Microsoft’s voice based assistant are Australia, India and Canada as part of the Windows Phone 8.1 Denim update.
The new update will allow it to tie more tightly to apps, giving Cortana the ability to “Skype Peter” or order up an Audiocloud music stream and more, and all this without having to unlock the phone and press a button. The new version will also feature an Always Listen feature, something it seemed many users have requested. A similar function is already available in the Moto X with Android World. When enabled, the device will always listen for the phrase Hey Cortana and then perform it’s action upon that.
While this sure will drain your battery faster, it can be very useful. You can sit across the room from the phone, speak the trigger phrase and let it record a reminder, ask a question or launch an app.
Microsoft also presented 2 new phones, the new Lumia 830 and Lumia 735, to address holes in Microsoft’s product offerings. The 830 is labeled as the affordable flagship and the 735 is a selfie phone. Indirectly they presented three phones, as there’ll also be a dual-SIM version of the 735 that will be called Lumia 730. They are set to roll out this month, so you don’t have to wait long if you’d like one of them.
The Lumia 830 is priced at €330, but doesn’t lack in specifications. It has a 5-inch, 1280 x 720 display, a 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB storage, and a removable 2,200 mAh battery. The phone measures 139.4 mm x 70.7 mm x 8.5 mm and weighs 150 grams. Microsoft’s SensorCore is also built in, providing a pedometer sensor for tracking your steps via the Bing Health and Fitness app. It has a 10 MP PureView camera with optical stabilization on the rear and a 1 MP front-facing camera, which seems somewhat underwhelming.
The new Lumia 735/730 is a so called selfie phone that is growing in popularity at the moment. It has a 5MP front-facing camera and features to improve the quality of images and Skype calls. Microsoft even throws in a promotional three-month Skype Unlimited World subscription to get you used to making Skype calls on the go instead of regular ones. The rear facing camera doesn’t have a much higher resolution then the front with 6.7 MP.
It has a 4.7-inch, 1280 x 720 OLED screen with sunlight readability enhancements and a high brightness mode, 1 GB memory and 8 GB of storage. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core chip that runs at 1.2GHz. Again Microsoft used a 2,200 mAh removable battery. The phone weighs slightly less then the 830 does with just 134.3 grams. It measures 134.7 mm x 68.5 mm x 8.9 mm. The 753 is expected to be priced at €219.
Both phones offer wireless charging as well as traditional. Remember, these phones aren’t meant to be the flagships, they are meant to fill a gap in the product lineup, and I think they do that pretty well.
Thank you PC World for providing us with these information.
Images courtesy of PC World.