Microsoft is bringing its Cortana voice recognition platform to iOS and Android device, to tie in with its launch on desktop with the introduction of the Windows 10 desktop OS later this year. Cortana has previously only been available for Windows phones.
iOS and Android Cortana users will be able to integrate the app with their Windows 10 devices. Microsoft is also building a Phone Companion app in to Windows 10 to help users with the integration. When the Phone Companion app is launched on the PC, the user will be promoted to pick which type of phone they own – Windows, Android, or iPhone. With a Windows phone, there’s nothing extra needed. But for an Android phone or iPhone there are a few steps to follow to set things up.
The integration goes beyond Cortana. After the phone and PC have been paired, with the OneDrive app setup correctly on the phone, every photo taken on the phone will show up automatically in the Photos app on the Windows 10 PC. Also, with the latest upcoming version of the Music app, users will be able to store and access their music from OneDrive not only on their PC but also, play it anywhere, for free, on their iOS or Android phone, as Windows Phone users already can. Office documents will also sync across the PC and the mobile device.
Most of the Cortana features on Windows Phones will carry across to the iOS and Android apps, but some won’t, initially at least. For example, toggling settings and opening apps won’t initially be available in the iOS and Android Cortana apps. Similarly, the ability to invoke Cortana hands-free by saying “Hey Cortana” requires integration with the device’s microphone, so that feature will be limited to Windows Phones and PCs.
The Android version of Cortana will be available from the end of June, the iPhone version “later this year”.