If you're a Halo fan you'll probably have already heard that Microsoft is code naming its voice assistant Cortana. If you're not, that name is the female AI featured in the Halo game series.

The news that Microsoft was using that name cropped up a few days back, covered here. Since then public outcry has grown as fans petition Microsoft to use the name officially, not just as a codename. And in those few days the petition has already broken the 20,000 digital signature mark.

The idea is that this digital assistant could give Windows Phone the street cred it needs to appeal to a wider market and really make a dent in the iPhone and Android competition. Since this assistant will be constant across Windows PC, tablet and phone devices as well as on the Xbox One, Cortana could be a brilliant unifying and recognisable character to help its appeal.

It makes sense - presuming Microsoft can come up with something that works well too. With its Kinect history it should be standing in good stead to create a Siri competitor that's smart enough to impress and attract new users.