India

Cortana heads to UK, China in beta, while India, Canada and Australia get opt-in alpha program

Tonight in Beijing, China, corporate vice president at Microsoft Joe Belfiore announced new Cortana rollout plans for Windows Phone 8.1 users, including a new 'alpha' program to speed up the deployment process. Furthermore, full details about Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 were also released, including early access starting next week.

As expected, China and the UK are now getting access to Cortana on a beta status, with substantial customization done for both countries, especially in China where some significant changes to the UI of Cortana have taken place. Additionally, India, Australia, and Canada are now part of an "early adopter program" where users can "opt-in and…try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK."

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Mega Cabs is an on-call taxi service available in several cities in India - Delhi, Bangalore, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Amritsar, and Chandigarh - with dedicated services at the airports. Started in 2001, the company claims to be India's largest radio taxi network.

The official app for Mega Cabs has finally launched for Windows Phone devices. The app allows you to book a cab quickly and conveniently.

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Follo (follo.co.in), a Times Internet service, is a celebrity connect service that enables fans to connect to their favorite actors, actresses, models, et al. You could read their updates, view extensive multimedia content, or listen to their voice feeds.

By follo-ing a celebrity, you could stay updated about their work and personal endeavors - breaking news, exclusive quotes, celeb gossip, trade news, event photos, candid shots, video interviews and more. Follo features celebrities from Bollywood and cine stars from regional cinema as well as Indian cricketers.

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The Indian Air Force has released an official combat simulation game called Guardians that gives players an insight into the life of fighter jet pilot. The game features a training mode in which players get acquainted with the controls of a Sukhoi SU 30, a twin-engine two-seater fighter jet commonly used by the Indian Air Force during combat missions.

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Kick (2014) is a Bollywood action thriller film, directed and produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and stars Salman Khan in the lead role. As part of the promotions in the run up to the movie release, the producers have partnered with Indiagames to release the official game for the movie, KICK-TheOfficialGame.

In the game, you play as Salman Khan's character in the movie – a good-natured thief who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. As you go along, you need to steal from five different locations and get on a high-speed bike chase against the cops. You need to steal with your mind coming in like a storm, and escape with valor.

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Moneycontrol.com is the leading finance and business portal in India. Launched in 1999, and now owned by the Network18 media conglomerate it's the go to portal for investors, traders, and finance professionals. While the official moneycontrol app for Windows Phone devices has been there since long, it recently got a nice update (v1.5.0.0) with new features and some performance as well as user experience enhancements.

Also, the moneycontrol.com app has made its debut on Windows Store for Windows Phone 8 devices. Yes, the Windows 8 app has a .com in the name, unlike the one for Windows Phone.

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TimesCity.com, a Times Internet service, allows you to access information about restaurants, nightlife spots and movie theatres around you. Available for eleven cities in India as of now, the app helps you search and find restaurants and pubs to decide where to eat and party as well as the latest movie showtimes.

The official TimesCity app arrived on the Windows Phone Store in April this year, and has just been bumped to v2.0.0.0.

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Flipkart.com is one of the leading online retailers in India, and offers a broad selection of products across diverse categories.

The company launched their official app for Windows Phone in April this year, and the app has already received a couple of updates since then, adding new features and fixing bugs along the way. The last update was v1.2.0.0, and I've learnt that another update has already been submitted to the Store, and is waiting for certification.

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Microsoft's Cortana is currently limited to only those in the United States, but the team behind the personal assistant are working hard to quickly bring it to other regions. Top on that list is the UK and China, two regions that are officially getting Cortana soon. Cortana was originally teased as coming in July, but Microsoft later backtracked on that as the date was pushed back.

Now, Marcus Ash, Group Program Manager of Cortana, has responded to a user's question about the UK, noting "Barring an unforeseen issue, down to less than 2 weeks for the developer preview." This is certainly good news, as many in the UK can finally take advantage of a proper regionalized Cortana, including metric and Celsius data. As to the reason for the delay, Ash explains that he and his team have "…learned a lot about scaling. Now we need to finish" observing that it has been a "tough project".

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TicketGoose.com is a popular service which allows users to book bus tickets in India. The Bangalore-based company offers a wide range of bus operators for bookings.

Last week, the company launched their official app for Windows Phone that offers a simple and easy way of booking bus tickets from 700-odd top bus operators to more than 3,000 destinations, with 20,000+ trips every day.

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Snapdeal.com is one of India's largest online shopping site featuring a wide assortment of products from Indian and international brands in multiple categories.

While Snapdeal.com has had an official Windows Phone app since two years, it was a half-baked effort and hadn't been updated much. However that changed in May this year when the app was bumped to version 2.0.0.0 and brought a completely new and refreshed online shopping experience on your Windows Phone device.

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While Windows Phone users have been pretty happy with the growth of the ecosystem in India, Axis Bank customers have been clamouring for the official app especially after the closest rivals, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank landed on the Windows Phone Store.

Axis Bank is the third largest private sector bank in India. I confirmed that the Axis Bank app was coming soon a few days ago, and we've hit the bulls-eye here. The official app of Axis Bank – Axis Mobile – has just arrived on the Windows Phone Store.

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With over 12 million registered users and 6 million app downloads overall, Paytm is India's largest mobile commerce platform. The service started by offering mobile recharge and utility bill payments and today it offers a full marketplace to consumers on its mobile apps.

The Paytm app for Windows Phone got a big update over the weekend. The latest update bumps the app version to 3.0.0.0, and introduces a design refresh and a better wallet experience.

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BookMyShow is India's largest entertainment ticketing service for booking tickets for movies, events, plays, sports, and festivals. The BookMyShow app has been on Windows Phone Store since a while, but has just been updated to version 2.0.0.0 which brings a completely revamped look and feel.

While the app was always functional, but had limited offerings and a vanilla user experience with average UI. The latest update fixes old bugs and upgrades the app performance, while bringing in a neat, modern user-interface that is quite functional as well as high on visual appeal.

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