Cortana is officially coming to Android and iOS. Rumors have been swirling around but Microsoft’s Joe Belfoire clearly lays out Microsoft’s plans for the personal digital assistant in a YouTube video which you can find below.
Microsoft’s personal digital assistant will make her way onto iOS and Android in the form of an app, and will require a “Phone Companion” app on a Windows 10 PC to help to install Cortana on the rival systems. Many of the features she provides on Windows Phones, such as notifications and tracking flights, and your personal Cortana’s Notebook, will be available but Microsoft points out in their blog post breaking the news that not everything will be included. They specifically point out that ‘Hey Cortana,’ opening apps, and toggling settings will not be available due to “Some features requir[ing] access to the system that aren’t currently possible with iOS or Android”
The main idea behind having Cortana on all three major phone platforms is that with a cross platform Cortana, people can have notifications and information follow them anywhere regardless of the device they use. Joe Belfoire states that many people that will be using Windows 10 on their desktop, which has Cortana integrated within it, will use iOS and Android devices. By having Cortana on their phones, they could use her on their desktop to set a reminder and have her notify them of said reminder on their mobile device.
This is a similar strategy to what Microsoft has done with other services recently. Microsoft Office is on all the major platforms, as is OneDrive and a long list of other software and services.
Some Windows users have expressed concern over Windows Phone exclusive features making their way onto other platforms, pointing out that if everything on Windows Phone is available elsewhere that no one will switch to Microsoft’s mobile phone platform.
The flip side to that argument is that Microsoft is a software company that also makes hardware, not the other way around. Defenders of expanding Cortana’s reach, and the reach of other popular Microsoft software, is that Microsoft as a company is trying to increase its user base.
Specifically speaking of Cortana, it’s quite possible that users with Android phones and iPhones may not use Cortana on the desktop even if they use Windows 10 unless their reminders and information followed them to their phone. While having Cortana on the desktop will be useful to many users, Google Now and Siri are built into their respective mobile phones and many users would pick a phone exclusive assistant to a desktop specific assistant. By bringing Cortana to Android and iOS Microsoft creates another cross platform universal service.
Thanks for the tip, Emil!