Throughout Master Chief Petty Officer John-117’s career in the United Nations Space Command (UNSC), Cortana has been at his side doing some pretty amazing things as an AI based off of Dr. Catherine Halsey’s (creator of Spartan IIs) brain to save humanity countless times. Outside of the Haloverse, Cortana became an extremely helpful personal assistant on Windows Phone where she faced off against Siri in countless television commercials. Now Cortana has made the leap to Windows 10 where she’ll be seen on Xbox’s, laptops, tablets, and phones.
Bungie first showed off Cortana in a demo for Halo: Combat Evolved where she stuck with the iconic Xbox exclusive franchise until 343 industries let her rest in peace in Halo 4’s ending. Cortana was named after the sword Curtana wielded by the legendary Ogier the Dane of French mythology. Voiced by Seattle native Jen Taylor, Cortana went from Chief’s sidekick on Halo Installation 04 to being considered one of the top 25 female video game characters of all time. From her witty comments to saving humanity from imminent destruction multiple times, Cortana has proven to be a proverbial gold mine for Microsoft and Halo.
With the introduction of Apple’s Siri and Google Now, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform looked lackluster without the presence of a voice assistant. At Microsoft’s now annual BUILD conference in April 2014, they displayed Cortana on a Windows Phone for the first time to the public. Shipping with Windows Phone 8.1, she came to critical acclaim surpassing Siri in functionality and nearly equaling Google Now in the United States. Like her video game incarnation, Cortana is voiced by Jen Taylor (US version) and is loaded with witty responses, easter eggs, and helpful responses to save time.
It made sense for Microsoft to release Cortana for Windows Phone because it was a key feature other phones Microsoft competes with have. In January 2015 Microsoft held a conference detailing Windows 10 and a key detail about Cortana’s future arose. She is making the journey to PC. Since Windows 10 will run on Xbox, PC, and phones, Cortana is going to have a home on your Windows 10 PC’s taskbar.
This is a big step for both the voluptuous personal assistant and the aging Windows OS. Windows has been there since the dawn of time, but as of late has taken a radical change in a new more vibrant direction. While Windows has its own speech dictation service, it acts as a crude version of Cortana and is not widely advertised. Cortana represents the new radical Microsoft that is willing to bend the rules to save the company’s flagship OS from fading away into the depths of history.