Microsoft Corporation revealed Tuesday that it is putting Cortana on other platforms, specifically to iOS and Android as an individual app installable through the app stores. Microsoft’s VP Operating Systems Group, Joe Belfiore, said there will be a Cortana app on a Windows 10 PC for Android and Apple phones. It will aid the installation of Cortana from Google Play or Apple Store.
This means Cortana can co-exist with the other virtual assistants Google Now and Siri. Those who have seen Microsoft porting what have been previously Windows exclusives would not be surprised. Users of Windows Phone may be shocked a bit, but the Redmond software maker has been providing services from Office, Outlook, OneDrive, Xbox games, Microsoft Band, Garage apps and MSN apps to other operating systems. Windows Central said there is no way the Windows digital assistant would be off limits. Being cross-platform is great for both the consumers and Microsoft Corporation.
Android and iOS devices have their own digital assistants, Google Now and Sir, hence, Cortana cannot be in the mainstream. Cortana is still best on its home Windows 10. On other platforms, it cannot be totally amazing.
Microsoft Corporation introduced to developers in their annual Build last month, tools to use for Cortana, like voice command architecture, searching information and deep linking to app. For instance, an application icon can show up in Cortana, converse with the user or do some tasks. It can retrieve stations in Pandora, let the user pick one, then start the app. With Azure, the digital assistant can do thorough search using the cloud within an app.
Cortana will not offer voice activation in non-Windows platforms, but it will send notifications, and remind iOS and Android users of their activities and schedule. Furthermore, it will sync user settings and interests on PCs and mobiles.
Cortana needs data to be more refined and accurate, and for it grow in other countries, Microsoft Corporation needs more users. Being ubiquitous is an obvious advantage as it not only reaches out Windows Phone users, but those who are into Android and iOS as well. Microsoft can collect data for developing other digital assistant features.
It has been the vision of Microsoft to create cross-platform products and services. While the idea of Apple, Google and Microsoft Corporation being open to each other was previously bizarre, Redmond now makes it possible, one of which is this move of putting Cortana on other platforms, not just Windows.
Belfiore made it clear that their aim is to make Windows 10 for everyone. They will have it work well with any device, which is advantageous to consumers, who do not need to acquire another device to run an application. This change can make the hardware less important.
Some fans of Microsoft Corporation think that it would have been better for the Redmond company to make its products proprietary to its own hardware. Microsoft tried that and did not succeed. While Cortana may gain admirers from iOS or Android users, it would be difficult to convince them to buy a Windows Phone device just for Cortana, as they already have the other assistants.
While non-Windows users would not dump the other digital assistants easily for Cortana, Microsoft allows them to try the Windows assistant. If convinced, they might consider buying a Windows device, where the Microsoft digital assistant is at its best.
To date, Microsoft Corporation is placing a great deal of emphasis towards putting Cortana on other platforms especially to iOS and Android. That said, whatever the digital assistant can contribute to making Microsoft a household name once more, remains to be seen. The good thing is that there are a lot of people choosing to use an Android or an iOS device, and they will be able to enjoy Microsoft products and services with either one.
By Judith Aparri
Windows Central: Why putting Cortana everywhere is good thing for Microsoft and Windows Phone
CNET: Microsoft’s Cortana crosses over to iOS and Android
GMA Network: Microsoft’s Cortana coming to iPhone and Android
Photo courtesy of Ben Darlow’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License