Yes, you read right. Before it was decided to try out the name “Cortana” for the digital assistant in Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft was thinking about calling it “Alyx.” Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Now and is being touted as the “most personal smartphone assistant” that learns your interests and helps keep track of all that matters.
Microsoft’s Group Program Manager for Cortana on Windows Phone Marcus Ash has taken it to Twitter yet again to reveal that one of the front runners for the digital assistant’s name was Alyx. Alyx Vance was the name of a character from the game Half Life 2. Microsoft ended up going with Cortana, inspired by the popular character from ‘Halo’ who served as a brilliant AI and a deeply personal digital assistant to Master Chief.
Ash also stated that Microsoft peeked at the early feedback given by those who toyed with Cortana and Windows Phone 8.1 and saw that the community liked the idea of the Cortana name. It “gave us confidence [that] it was a good idea,” Ash adds. The team is working on brining a Spanish version of Cortana as quickly as possible.
— Marcus Ash (@marcusash) June 17, 2014
Ash also revealed in a previous tweet that at this currently stage, Microsoft is currently thinking about having Cortana on rival platforms, but nothing is in development. It’s highly likely that it will happen in the future though, and that’s not a bad thing. Ash reassured Windows Phone fans that the Cortana experience on Windows Phone is the top priority and will eventually make its way to Windows as well.
Cortana is expected to roll out in the UK and China next month. Cortana is also expected to reach Canada in time for Windows Phone 8.1 roll out.