In just a few weeks, Microsoft will unveil Cortana running on the desktop in Windows 10. They’ll demo how the personal assistant is available to you whenever you need her, on your phone in your pocket, out and about on your laptop or home at your desk. They’ll stress how she can sync all your data across all your devices, and be ready to help when you need her to be, much like a real personal assistant. And in the light of these announcements, it’ll become clear why internally, Microsoft is working on bringing Cortana to rival platforms, as well as the Xbox One.
It’s unlikely Microsoft will actually announce plans to bring Cortana to rival platforms at its January 21st event, and the fact that she's even being thought about on rival platforms isn't really surprising. It’s happening because of her arrival on Windows 10, and how Microsoft is setting her up to be the same assistant available to you everywhere. Set a reminder on the desktop and it’ll popup on your phone, or setup a meeting on your phone and have it popup on your desktop. It works both ways, and much like a personal assistant, is always available to you where most convenient.
As of right now, the only problem with the idea of Cortana being everywhere is that she’s only available on one smartphone platform, and that platform is the least popular out of the “big three”. The majority of Windows users are indeed iOS or Android users, and getting them to upgrade to Windows 10 will be a difficult task. By launching Cortana on rival platforms, it gives Windows users more of a reason to upgrade, as what some would call Windows 10’s best feature also has a companion app available for their smartphone, even if their smartphone isn’t Windows-based.
Microsoft has been hinting at this for sometime now, when Marcus Ash was questioned on the availability of Cortana on rival platforms, he never said no. He always responded with the fact that they were thinking about it or talking about it. WinBeta understands that these 'talks' have resulted in the decision to eventually launch the personal assistant on iOS and Android devices. Of course, until Microsoft makes an official announcement (which most likely won't be anytime soon), things can easily change.
The idea of Cortana being everywhere doesn’t end at rival smartphones either, Cortana will eventually show up on Xbox One, meaning she’ll even be ready to help whilst watching TV or playing a video game. Microsoft wants Cortana to be literally everywhere, there won’t be a form factor you can’t go to without Cortana being available. PC, tablet, laptop, phone and TV. Cortana will be there to help. If you’re unable to fathom how convenient and useful it would be to have Cortana everywhere, here’s an example.
So I’m sitting at my desk writing an article for you guys, and I remember that in three days time, I have a friend who will be celebrating their birthday. Instead of getting up and walking all the way across my house to my phone to set the reminder, I just told Cortana to set a reminder straight from my desktop. Three days later, when I was out of the house, Cortana reminded me on my phone that it was my friend’s birthday. The reminder synced across all my devices, and alerted me on a device which I didn’t even set the reminder on. That’s just one example of how Cortana will work everywhere, much like a real personal assistant.
Cortana wouldn’t be this handy if she didn’t have companion apps on iOS and Android, and since the majority of Windows users are on those rival platforms, it only makes sense to bring Cortana to them. Many Windows Phone fans may be unhappy to hear this, considering Cortana is arguably Windows Phones best feature, but consider this; Cortana will always be a better experience on Windows Phone, considering she’s actually native to the operating system, compared to rival platforms in which she’ll simply be an app downloadable from an app store.
There's no pinned date for the launch of Cortana on these rival platforms or Xbox One, so it would be hard to pinpoint a time frame in which Cortana could appear. Stay tuned at WinBeta for more news regarding Cortana!