Cortana Beta App Officially Reaches Android Today

You may not take digital assistants seriously just yet, but Microsoft does and it wants you start relying on its version right now. The company loaded Cortana onto Windows 10, which became available late last month, and has long been planning to put Cortana on competitors’ platforms. Cortana for Android leaked last month, but now Cortana Beta is officially available for people running Android-based smartphones and other mobile devices.

Cortana for Android is still in Beta and is only available in the U.S. at this point, but Microsoft says that it has plans for extending the Beta to other countries. The company has been privately testing Cortana on Android for some time now and is touting its new support for the home button as an example of Microsoft listening to customer feedback. Now, you can tie Cortana to the Home button so that “Access to your personal digital assistant is just a button-press away,” said Microsoft’s Susan Hendrich in a blog post.

Cortana android beta

The Android Beta has most of the functionality of Windows Cortana. “With the app, you can manage your hectic lifestyle by setting and getting reminders, searching the web on-the-go, tracking important information such as flight details as well as starting and completing tasks across all of your devices,” Hendrich writes.

That’s not to say that there aren’t a few differences. Cortana for Windows 10 is better able to handle voice commands, thanks to better integration with Windows. And the “Hey, Cortana,” feature (which starts the digital assistant via voice command) only works with Windows, too. Microsoft says that it plans to make further changes to the software in the future, but it hasn’t signaled that “Hey Cortana,” is in the works.

Cortana android beta 2

Cortana recently appeared on Mac OS X, but not as a direct result of Microsoft. Parallels, known for software that lets Mac users run Windows and Windows software on their Macs, included Cortana in Parallels 11. The move meant that Cortana came to the Mac before Apple’s own Siri made the jump from iOS.