If you’ve been secretly yearning for Cortana – Windows’ virtual assistant and counterpart of Siri – to become available on your iPhone, you’re in luck. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that later this year, Cortana will come on both iOS and Android smartphones, in the form of an app.
Moreover, in the same press release, the company announced that Windows 10 will benefit from its own Phone Companion app, allowing users to connect to their Windows PC from whatever smartphone they might own; it supports Windows, Android phone, and iOS.
Not only is Cortana Microsoft’s reaction to Siri, the virtual provided by Apple, but also an answer to Google Now, the Android feature that feed users with little bits of useful information throughout the day.
But Google Now does so much more: by having access to your smartphone’s apps, it crawls into your emails, notes and shopping lists in order to efficiently remind you to buy that milk you made a note of, or to make sure you catch that flight you wrote about in an email. It works by providing answers by demand, as well.
Using Cortana on a Windows smartphone offers you the best experience it can, as it is completely intertwined with Microsoft services. Making it available for Android and iPhone is predicted to considerably limit that experience, just like Google Now is not working on full capacity on iOS.
What Apple and Android users will be able to access by installing the Cortana app are the services such as intelligent reminders and syncing notes on multiple devices.
Microsoft explained that more advanced services like toggling settings or invoking Cortana hands-free with the phrase “Hey Cortana” will not be available right off the bat and will require special integration with the OS.
So far, Cortana was available exclusively on Windows Phone, but it will also launch as an app on desktop with Windows 10. Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of Operating Systems Group explained in a blog post why Microsoft decided to extend Cortana for Android and iOS.
He said that the company wanted to be relevant on any smartphone, as it is aware so many people use iPhones or Android phones. Microsoft main application for brining Cortana for Android and iOS is the possibility to become a “companion app” for Windows 10 users.
This phrase should not be confused with the new Phone Companion app announced by Microsoft. That app will ask Android and iOS users to follow a few easy steps in order to become synced with Windows 10 PC.
The setup will include the installation of Music, OneDrive, Office Package and OneNote on the user’s smartphone, along with Cortana, the virtual assistant.
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