Microsoft Working On Version of Cortana for Android and iOS
Microsoft is preparing to make its Cortana personal assistant software available as a stand-alone application to the Android and iOS platforms later this year, reports Reuters. Microsoft is already developing an improved version of Cortana for its forthcoming Windows 10 desktop, tablet, and phone operating system, expected this fall. Microsoft is culling research from an artificial intelligence project called Einstein to improve Cortana's predictive and conversational abilities. "This kind of technology, which can read and understand email, will play a central role in the next roll out of Cortana, which we are working on now for the fall time frame," said Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research, in an interview with Reuters. Microsoft believes Cortana's abilities can surpass those of its rivals, Google Now on Android phones and Siri on iPhones. "We're defining the competitive landscape of who can provide the most supportive services that make life easier, keep track of things, that complement human memory in a way that helps us get things done," said Horvitz. Microsoft envisions Cortana becoming more capable with respect to helping users by anticipating their needs. Google and Apple have taken similar steps with Google Now and Siri, respectively. Google Now is adept at providing just-in-time reminders and details in the form of cards, but Siri is more limited to responding to direct requests. Horvitz did not confirm Microsoft's intent to bring Cortana to Android and iOS, but Reuters says people familiar with Microsoft's plans are certain it will appear after Windows 10's debut later this year. Microsoft has made an aggressive push over the last year to port key applications to the Android and iOS platforms, such as Microsoft Office. Bringing Cortana to Android and iOS would fit in with the pattern of Microsoft's behavior.
Microsoft Releases Cortana for Android in Beta Form
Microsoft today made its Cortana voice-activated personal assistant available to Android users via the Google Play Store beta channel. The app had previously only been available through a closed beta, but is now accessible through an open beta program.
Cortana for Android Now Works On the Lock Screen
Microsoft today made it possible for Android device owners to access and use Cortana above the lock screen on their smartphones. Microsoft has been testing the feature since earlier this year and is now rolling it out to all users.
Microsoft and Amazon Let Cortana and Alexa Talk to One Another
Microsoft and Amazon today announced a new partnership that will allow Windows 10 users to access Alexa via Cortana, and Echo users to access Cortana via Alexa. The tie-up lets people use one personal assistant to open the other.
Microsoft Wants Insiders to Test Cortana for iOS
Microsoft is asking Windows Insiders to give Cortana a whirl on their iOS devices. Cortana is Microsoft's virtual assistant.