Hobbled Cortana arrives in Canada, Australia, Japan, and India

As part of the latest update to Windows 10, Microsoft's digital assistant has arrived in a number of new geographies.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor on

Users of Windows 10 in Canada, Australia, Japan, and India will be able to make use of Microsoft's digital assistant, Cortana, from today.

However, Cortana will not be as capable in these geographies as it is in Microsoft's native US, and for Canadian and Indian users, Cortana will only be available in English.

"With Cortana, you can use your device's pen** to just scribble a note in the Cortana Notebook and Cortana will recognize the phone number, email address, and even physical address to help you set reminders," said Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group said in a blog post. "Cortana can also now keep track of your event and movie bookings too, sending you helpful reminders to know where to go and get there on time, plus the option to book and track an Uber**."

The double-asterisks mark features restricted to the United States.

Despite those restrictions, Microsoft touted the customisation work it has done to tune Cortana for local conditions.

"Designing an intelligent personal assistant for new markets requires abandoning a 'one-size fits all' approach, instead embracing local culture, humour and points of interest," said Marcus Ash, Group Program Manager for Cortana. "We recognise this in the development of Cortana, so our local teams talk to real users, study the culture and we adjust Cortana's personality accordingly."

Cortana was previously available in the US, UK, China, France, Italy, Germany, and Spain, with support announced for Brazil, Mexico, and Quebecois.

The rollout of Cortana formed part of the first major update that Microsoft has released for Windows 10 that also included an update of the Edge browser, support for the Windows 10 Store for Business and the bulk of the management pieces required by business users who may want to take advantage of Microsoft's Windows Update for Business service.

On Thursday, Microsoft opened its first store outside of North America in Sydney.

First through the doors was Dominic Tresize, 20, who had lined up for 18 hours to be the first to high five the over-excited staff, and of course, be the first to buy.

"It's good fun, definitely worth it," he told AAP. "I've been using Microsoft all my life, or as long as I've been using computers, and I just wanted to be a part of that."

Tresize even got his new Xbox signed by the store manager.

Second in line was Brody McKee, 31, who said he had worked late every day this week so he could take time off to make it to the opening.

"So I'm going to go back home and play with all these things," he said.

The store will employ 60 workers, and is just one street away from its rival Apple.

Microsoft has 110 stores in the US, Puerto Rico and Canada.

With AAP

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