In early March, managing director of Microsoft Research managing editor Eric Horvitz hinted that the Cortana digital assistant would be making its way to both iOS and Android platforms after being a Windows Phone exclusive for quite some time (it has also found a home in Windows 10). Microsoft made that news official in late May, confirming that the world’s two top mobile operating systems would receive Cortana support.
The iOS and Android Cortana apps were supposed to debut later this month alongside the retail launch of Windows 10, but the Android app has leaked early and can be download right now as an APK. As you might expect, Cortana functionality on Android for the most part mirrors what you would find on the current Windows Phone 8.1 operating system and in Windows 10. That means you can set reminders, check out sports scores, call up traffic info, or even inquire about restaurants in the area.
In its current iteration, the Android app does not support “Hey Cortana,” and we don’t know if it will show up in future versions of the app. Cortana for Android is still labeled as beta software, so there’s still plenty of time to add the functionality at a later date.
While it’s nice to see that Microsoft is pouring a lot of effort into bringing its apps and services to competing platforms, one must wonder what benefit will can be had from using Cortana over more integrated solutions like Siri on iOS and Google Now on Android. Both of those solutions are already baked into the operating system and have their own special platform “hooks.”
However, if you’d like to try out Cortana now on your Android device, you can download the APK using the link below. As for iOS users, you’ll have to wait until the official release to see how Cortana stacks up to Siri on your iPhone.