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Microsoft is firing all cylinders in the engine that drives Cortana. It was just announced that China and the United Kingdom would be getting Cortana shortly. Cortana also just entered alpha status for India, Australia (hello mates) and Canada. Now we're seeing some other changes with Cortana. Users are now seeing more answers returned à la Google Now.
Tonight in Beijing, China, corporate vice president at Microsoft Joe Belfiore announced new Cortana rollout plans for Windows Phone 8.1 users, including a new 'alpha' program to speed up the deployment process. Furthermore, full details about Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 were also released, including early access starting next week.
As expected, China and the UK are now getting access to Cortana on a beta status, with substantial customization done for both countries, especially in China where some significant changes to the UI of Cortana have taken place. Additionally, India, Australia, and Canada are now part of an "early adopter program" where users can "opt-in and…try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK."
As expected, Microsoft is finally revealing all there is about Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1. Known internally as GDR1 for 'general distribution release,' this update is one of two for the 8.1 operating system in 2014. The news comes out of Beijing, China where Microsoft's Joe Belfiore announced the release during his keynote, in addition to the expansion of Cortana to the UK and China.
Update 1 is relatively minor in comparison to what 8.1 delivered this spring, but it still contains numerous new features for consumers, and hardware manufacturers. Leaks of these features in Update 1 came over the weekend and were accurate.
Additionally, starting next week, those enrolled in the free Preview for Developers program are slated to get an update to their phones to take advantage of the new OS refresh.