As a part of the Windows Phone 8.1 announcement, Microsoft finally took the wraps off Cortana, it’s ecosystem’s very own answer to Siri and Google Now. At the time, the software maker touted it as a voice assistant encompassing the best features of Apple and Google’s respective services, and such is the faith that the Windows maker has in Cortana, that versions for iOS and Android are now being prepared.
Microsoft hasn’t yet announced this, and we currently only have a report from the folks at Search Engine Land to go on, but given how the company’s Nokia X runs on a forked version of Android dressed up to look like a Windows Phone, it wouldn’t be surprising if the software maker looked once again to rivaling platforms in order to boost its own reach.
As with both Siri and Google Now during their early stages, Cortana is far from perfect. But in the privileged position of having been able to learn from both of these major mobile-based assistants, Microsoft has a leg-up in the running, and already, we’ve seen that Cortana is both polished and functional.
There’s still work to be done, of course, with Windows Phone 8.1 still awaiting its public, end user release, but given how much hype the app has been given already, offering apps for iOS and Android could prove a very worthwhile pursuit.
Indeed, Windows Phone lead Marcus Ash recently noted that Microsoft sees Cortana as a “pervasive” product, and although he stopped short of outlining iOS and Android as potential beneficiaries, it’s a move that would do Windows Phone’s own cause no harm at all.
The degree to which Cortana could have an effect versus Siri and Google Now remains questionable though. Apple’s ecosystem is constructed in such a way that it would be difficult for Microsoft to truly integrate Cortana at anywhere near the level of Siri, and while Android’s open source nature is much more accommodating, Cortana would have to show more than just promise to entice users away from Google Now.
But for Microsoft, making a mark on iOS and Android alone would be of great value to Windows Phone, and as such, there’s a good chance that this report is indicative of things to come.
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