‘Hey Cortana’: Microsoft unveils an always listening Windows Phone assistant

Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1 on Lumia 521

IFA 2014– Lumia phone users get ready, Lumia Denim, the next firmware update for your phone, will introduce “hey Cortana” passive voice activation command. Basically, your Windows Phone now will always be listening, similar to what you find today in Android handsets with “OK Google” voice activation command and on Xbox with Kinect using the “Xbox On” command.

Lumia Denim is arriving this fall with other improvements, including a faster speeds to launch the camera app and taking pictures, and there is also an update for the Lumia Camera app to bring support for 4K recording.

The new “hey Cortana” hands-free feature will be compatible for phones running the Snapdragon 80x processors, such as the Lumia 1520, Lumia 930, and Lumia Icon.

Hopefully, Microsoft won’t limit the new voice activation feature to the Lumia flagship of phones. For example, the HTC One M8 for Windows has the necessary hardware to support the new extension, but carriers will have to release a firmware update.