Microsoft plans on releasing its digital assistant, Cortana, for Android devices. A beta version of the software leaked online last Saturday.
The company behind the digital assistant did not announce an exact launch date for Android’s Cortana. However, it disclosed a beta program which is limited to a few users within the US and China who can test the software before its initial release. Cortana has now been leaked online as an .APK file, which suggests that it is a leaked version of the beta program, according to The Verge. Users can install the .APK files simply by turning off the security setting related to sideloading apps, as reported by Tech Times.
Creating an Android port for Cortana is a crucial step for Microsoft, as it will widen the company’s reach to more consumers. Most PC users prefer Windows over other operating systems, but when it comes to smartphones or tablets, consumers most likely choose between Android and iOS. Windows 10 will begin rolling out by the end of this month, and it’ll bring Cortana for desktop. Users will of course want to integrate the desktop version with the one on their phones. Without versions of Cortana for the Android and iOS, non-Windows phone users would not be able to do so.
Microsoft’s version of Cortana for the Android will be dialed down as compared to the ones found on Windows phones, but it will bring several features with it. For instance, users will be able to check out nearby restaurants or bars to have a bite to eat or to drink. It could also bring up events on their calendar, add reminders, ask questions, get news and sporting updates. Some features, including saying “Hey Cortana” to open the app, will not work on the Android version of the app.
The beta version of Cortana for Androids is now unofficially available to any interested Android users leaking on SuomiMobiili. From there, the beta version was re-uploaded to APKMirror and many other sites. The app only requires the phone to run on Android 4.4KitKat and above.
Meanwhile, the official beta version of Cortana for Android should be available in the coming weeks. Those interested can accomplish this survey for a chance to be among the beta testers before the official beta release.