Microsoft Ships First Beta of Cortana for Android

Posted on July 17, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 0 Comments

Microsoft Ships First Beta of Cortana for Android

Thanks to Brad Sams for the screen image

Well so much for the theory that Microsoft delivers new mobile apps on iPhone before Android: The firm today announced that it has delivered the first beta version of Cortana—its digital personal assistant software—in mobile app form on Android.

You will need to be a Windows Insider in order to test the app, however. And it’s currently invite-only.

“We know that there’s a choice of mobile devices out there, so we want help from our Windows Insiders to make sure she’s a great personal assistant on Android too,” Microsoft’s Anannya Podder writes in the software giant’s support forums. “We are looking for a limited number of people to get their hands on an early version of the app. It’s important to keep in mind that is the first public release of the Cortana for Android beta. And that for now, Cortana for Android is only available in the U.S. and China. Over the coming months, we’ll continue to deliver frequent updates to the app to expand the features and functionality.”

As previously promised, Cortana works best on Windows platforms because Microsoft is able to integrate the software directly into the OS. So for example, on Windows 10, you can initiate Cortana with your voice using “Hey, Cortana,” search Cortana from Start, or even find out more about restaurants from the Edge web browser.

On Android—and, eventually, on iPhone as well—Cortana is just an app. So you will need to launch the app before you can do anything with Cortana.

“Cortana is your truly personal digital assistant, there to help you get things done,” Podder explains. “By learning more about you over time, Cortana becomes more useful every day. Cortana helps you be more productive by completing basic tasks like sending emails, scheduling events, and using the power of Bing to quickly search your devices, the cloud, or the web. Cortana’s also the best at reminders, delivering them at the right time and place so you forget less and can do more.”

Anyone interested in testing Cortana on Android at this early date will need to fill out a short survey and hope for the best. Based on the survey, it appears that you need to have a Google Nexus 5 or Nexus 6, an HTC One, an LG Flex, Flex 2, G2 or G3, a Moto X or G, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, 4, S4, S5, or S6, or a Sony Xperia Z3 for the best experience. It also appears to support Android 4.1 or newer.

Looking for a public release? It’s coming soon.

“In the spirit of the Windows Insider Program, we’re testing the Cortana for Android beta with a limited number of users in the U.S. and China before releasing the beta publicly in the next few weeks,” a Microsoft representative said.

Note: Thanks to Brad Sams for the screen image

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