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Microsoft outs Cortana for Android public beta

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Cortana Android beta

Microsoft has released the first public beta of its Cortana personal assistant for Android devices.

The Siri and Google Now rival had been available as a private beta for Google-powered devices, but now everyone can jump on board.

However, Cortana isn’t quite as powerful on Android devices as it is for Windows 10 PCs and Windows Phone handsets. For a start, Android users won’t be able to launch apps or control Android settings directly from Cortana.

There’s also no access to the “Hey Cortana” functionality, as the app doesn’t have full access to the Android system. That's not to say Cortana hasn't gotten better since it first arrived in private beta, Microsoft points out.

“The Cortana app can do most of the things Cortana does on your PC or on a Windows phone. With the app, you can manage your hectic lifestyle by setting and getting reminders, searching the web on-the-go, tracking important information such as flight details as well as starting and completing tasks across all of your devices,” a post on the Windows blog read.

Since we launched the closed beta, we’ve also made several improvements to the experience including the ability to set Cortana as the destination for the home button press. Now access to your personal digital assistant is just a button-press away.”

See also: Microsoft Windows 10 review

The official public launch comes a few weeks after a leaked version of the software landed on the web.

Today’s launch is only available in the US at present, but Microsoft says “other markets” will receive it soon.

Microsoft still says the iOS version of the software is in the works, but there’s no word yet on when the company plans to take the fight to Siri.

Have you downloaded the Cortana for Android beta today? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

Dead Words

August 24, 2015, 8:44 pm

This is really clever maneuvering on Microsoft's part, if very dangerous ground.
Although bringing their personal voice-activated artificial intelligence directly to the competition is a brilliant way to make a name for Cortana and Microsoft, Microsoft risks the competition (Google and Apple) exploiting the weaknesses still present in Cortana to an over exaggerated extent, and to market how Cortana doesn't have full control on other operating systems.
In addition, because Cortana is not able to do certain things because of restricted access to Android and iOS (probably more so in iOS because of iOS's nature), the average consumer (who probably won't realize that Android and iOS has restrictions on these sorts of things) may be put off by the fact that in a few areas Cortana does not have any functionality compared to Google Now or Siri.
Tread carefully, Microsoft.

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