Microsoft just put up a post on their Windows Phones blog about the new features in their upcoming update. They are expanding Cortana to more countries as beta version in China and UK, and as an alpha version to Canada, India and Australia.

Since the Chinese market has different needs and prospects than the US or other countries,  Cortana will be dubbed as “Xiao Na” and will hold special features just meant for the Chinese people such as support for Mandarin in voice, text and spoken communication, and have specialized suggestions such as air quality information, driving restrictions and track TV shows and celebrities.

In the UK, Cortana supports UK spellings and pronunciations, information on sports teams, London Stock Exchange, commuter conditions and more. For US, Cortana received improvements including new natural language scenarios, snooze time for reminders and some great additions including asking to do an impersonation. If your car kit is incorporated with your contacts, you can simply say “Call Cortana” to interact with her.

Microsoft has added  Live Folders where you can organize your favorite apps into folders on your start screen and even receive updates within the folder. The Xbox Music app has also been updated with features such as quick play of recent songs, support for Kids Corner, and faster app load and list scrolling.

Users are also being offered a new characteristic called the Apps Corner, where users can choose which apps to be displayed like a protected start screen from external users. The update even brings the ability to create a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when connected to unknown networks to create an anonymous network to protect data and the identity of the device.


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