July 20, 2015
App Hits the Internet After Beta Version Distributed to Select Windows Insiders
Microsoft released Cortana Android to some ‘Windows Insiders’ last week, but the digital assistant has since been leaked to the Internet at large.
The software giant had planned to release the beta version of Cortana on Android to select users and then expand the program after a few weeks, however, it looks like one of the early testers has taken on that job for Microsoft.
Now anyone who doesn’t want to wait for the official release can simply load the Cortana .apk file onto his or her Android device.
“The personal assistant was supposed to come to Android later this month, however, it has just been leaked and it is functional,” reads a post on Microsoft’s news site. “Just like the Windows 10 version, Cortana on Android comes with all the features which are available on Windows 10.”
The Cortana Android app will work in conjunction with the digital assistant on users’ Windows 10 PCs courtesy of the ‘Phone Companion’ app which aids them in installing the app from the Google Play Store onto their phone.
The Cortana app for Android will not have the same abilities that Cortana does on Windows phones, however. Although the functionality of the app is helpful on the handsets, because it is just an app, there will be a few things that won’t work on Android-run handsets that those with Windows phones enjoy.
“Cortana is with you on your Windows 10 PC, tablet, and phone—helping you whenever and wherever you need it. But we also know that there’s a choice of mobile devices out there, so we want help from our Windows Insiders to make sure she’s a great personal assistant on Android too,” wrote support engineer Anannya Podder in a July 14 blog post.
“Cortana’s deep integration with Windows means that’s where she can really shine. So, while there are some features you’ll use on Windows that we don’t (yet) support on Android phones (like saying “Hey Cortana” to wake her up), we have focused on making Cortana on Android the perfect companion to your Windows experience.”
Microsoft has been billing Cortana as a superior choice over digital assistance offerings from Apple and Google.
Microsoft operating systems group corporate vice-president Joe Belfiore has described Cortana as “the only digital assistant that gets to know you.”
He said Cortana “gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something.”
Users can either speak or type to ask Cortana a question and ‘she’ will respond in turn.
The first time a user interacts with Cortana, she will learn the user’s name, how to pronounce it, and ask for some personal interests. The digital assistant uses the person’s answers to curate content that would be of interest such as flight information for someone planning a trip, weather updates, the latest news, and even traffic information on familiar routes.
The digital assistant can also issue ‘people reminders’ — for instance, Cortana can remind the user a friend owes him $20. She can also help a user to make a video call in Skype, check his Facebook news feed or send a tweet.
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.