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Windows Phone 8 sets sights on Siri with voice control

In Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 you can launch and control apps with your voice and have a conversation with your phone.

Microsoft is saying sayonara to Siri by letting you control apps with your voice. In Windows Phone 8, the next generation of Microsoft software for mobile phones, you can launch and control apps with your voice and have a conversation with your phone.

Siri is Apple's voice-controlled personal assistant, which answers requests for information from the web and controls certain core functions, like sending texts or setting reminders. But Microsoft's voice feature will be open to app builders so you could control any app by flapping your lips.

At the launch of Windows 8, a Microsoft bod demonstrated the speech function by asking the phone to play an episode of Game of Thrones, which it duly did. Another example is in a sat nav app that tells you as you're driving that you're going to be late -- the nag! -- and asks if you want the app to send a text informing the person you're meeting.

If app developers take on the speech function, it could be used to launch and control apps, send tweets and other social network updates, go straight to a particular song or video without hunting around for it, or even play games. Microsoft reckons apps can vocally prompt you too, like the sat-nav app mentioned above, creating a conversation as you repond with commands.

Precise details of the speech function are yet to be outlined, but I understand it's part of the TellMe platform that's integrated into the operating system. TellMe is also part of other Microsoft software and hardware, and is the same technology that lets you order your Xbox around.

Can Windows Phone 8 scupper Siri? Is voice control all it's cracked up to be or a waste of breath? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page. They're not voice-controlled, I'm afraid, so you'll have to type your thoughts with your fingers. Sorry.