All Sections

Cortana to hit Android and iOS imminently?

A Microsoft exec has just strongly hinted that its smart virtual assistant, Cortana, could break free of Windows Phone and launch on other platforms in the near future.

Microsoft’s chief experience officer Julie Larson-Green was recently asked if Cortana, the smart Windows Phone virtual assisant who learns your habits as you use her, would be rolled out for other operating systems in the future. Her response? “The short answer is yeah”, a pretty conclusive soundbite if ever we heard one.

Voice asssistants have risen in popularity since Siri’s unveiling by Apple back in 2011. Google soon followed suit, unveiling Google Now, which was finally released across platforms as a stable version in summer of this year, while Samsung had a stab too with its mostly-woeful S Voice.

However, Microsoft took its time with Cortana, and it really shows. Cortana’s performance has recently been beefed-up and a special UK version released with posher intonations, while much deeper Office integration has also been added. Incidentally, Office, another key property of Microsoft’s, is also confirmed to be coming to Android tablets and iOS devices for free, which makes us all the more sure that we’ll see Cortana on iPhones and Android handsets soon.

Even in beta, Cortana was lauded as being more usable and accurate that Apple’s offering, and the direction in which Microsoft appears to be taking its software solutions, Cortana included, gives us cause for optimism.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft adapts Cortana’s functionality to work across several platforms but if anyone can do it, it’s the folks behind Windows.

So far it’s unclear as to when we’ll get start to see Cortana on other devices, but with the obvious shortcomings of Siri and the sometime two-dimensional Google Now, it’ll be great to have a third option thrown into the mix.