In a move that was expected for some time, Microsoft has officially announced that they are bringing their virtual assistant Cortana to both Android and iOS devices. This makes it the first virtual assistant to bridge the gap on all three platforms.
Microsoft says that their new “Phone Companion” app will help users of all three operating systems use their devices with a Windows 10 PC to the most it can, and this includes Cortana. When you launch the app, you select your phone’s operating system and it will recommend apps that are available for that platform.
“The ‘Phone Companion’ app on the PC will help you install the Cortana app from the Google Play or Apple App Store onto your phone so you’ll be able to take the intelligence of Cortana with you, wherever you go. The Cortana app can do most of the things Cortana does on your PC or on a Windows phone. You can have Cortana remind you to pick up milk the next time you’re at the grocery store, and then your phone will wake up and buzz with the reminder. You’ll be able to track a flight using Cortana on both your phone and your PC, and get the updates on the device that you’re on so you don’t miss anything. Everything in Cortana’s Notebook will show up across all your devices and any changes you make on one device will be reflected when you use Cortana on any of your other devices. The Cortana companion app will help you complete tasks you begin on your PC wherever you are, on your phone.”
However, Microsoft says that not all Cortana features will be coming to other platforms:
“Some features require access to the system that aren’t currently possible with iOS or Android, so things like toggling settings or opening apps won’t initially be available in the Cortana companions for those platforms. Similarly, the ability to invoke Cortana hands-free by saying “Hey Cortana” requires special integration with the device’s microphone, so that feature will be limited to Windows Phones and PCs.”
So while it is not the same exact Cortana as on Windows Phone or Windows on the desktop, it will be a very good competitor to Google Now. Cortana will be arriving in both the Google Play Store and the App Store sometime in June. Time will tell if people download and use it.