Microsoft pitches lobotomized Cortana for iOS, Android handsets

Don't be jealous, Siri. It's just an App

Not content to have Cortana controlling Windows Mobile, Microsoft has released a toned-down version of its personal assistant tool for iOS and Android handsets.

Redmond said that Cortana will run in a diminished capacity on the Apple and Google smartphone OSs, but will still allow users to link up their handsets with Windows PCs to sync and automate tasks.

"Cortana was created to be a truly personal digital assistant – available on the go, no matter where or when you need help, and on whatever device you carry," wrote Cortana group program manager Marcus Ash.

"That's why it's important to us that we bring Cortana to not only the Windows 10 ecosystem, but to other platforms."

The Cortana features on iOS and Android (as well as Cyanogen OS) have been designed to link up the devices to PCs running Windows 10. Microsoft said that with the Cortana software installed, users will be able to see and respond to messages on their PCs and sync meetings and calendar entries, along with other notices such as tracking info.

Microsoft cautioned that, because Cortana is merely an app and not the embedded assistant it functions as on Windows phones, a number of features from Windows Mobile will not be ported, due in part to the restrictions third-party apps have on access to system components in both OSs.

Most notably, said Microsoft, the voice search function of Cortana will not be available on the app, as both Apple and Android have their own voice-activated assistants already installed.

The Cortana app requires iOS 8 or later on Apple devices and Android 4.1.2 or later. The Cyanogen OS is not yet out, but will be released through OnePlus with the 12.1.1 update due later this month. ®

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