Microsoft announces Cortana for iOS, Android

Microsoft is planning to bring its virtual assistant Cortana to iOS and Android, making it a fully cross compatible service for those wanting to use the voice recognition platform.

Cortana is still in testing on Windows 10 Technical Preview, and will be available on PC and mobile in the summer. Microsoft released the mobile version on Windows Phone 8.1, but considering only two per cent of mobile users own a Windows Phone it has been hard for Microsoft to gain a lot of results.

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This new surge onto the two main mobile platforms should bring Microsoft millions of users, if Cortana works better than Apple’s Siri and Google Now—the two rival virtual assistants.

Microsoft will have a hard time making Cortana as integrated into the operating system as Siri for iOS and Google Now for Android, considering both Apple and Google have special privileges for both virtual assistant to tap into more apps and find information.

Cortana will not have those privileges by default, meaning Microsoft either needs to make the user accept these when downloading or find another way. Siri and Google Now both work via the home button and a swipe, whereas Cortana will work similar to all apps on Android and iOS, making it inherently less integrated.

Even though Cortana will have a hard time winning over new users, the plan from Microsoft is to allow Windows 10 desktop users to also use Cortana on a mobile device. Windows 10 will be free for Windows 7 and 8 customers, meaning it should rake in a few million downloads when it launches in July.

Early reviews of Cortana on Windows Phone seemed to suggest the virtual assistant was capable in the voice recognition department, but due to Microsoft’s lacklustre amount of services it fell behind, compared to Google Now.