Microsoft’s immensely popular Siri and Google Now rival Cortana has finally been released as a public beta for Android users, more than a year after it was first announced on April 2014.
Overjoyed Android users in the US can visit the Cortana link in the Google PlayStore and sign up for the beta while UK customers will have to cool their heels till the beta is released in other markets. An iOS version is also in the making.
The main difference between the Android beta and the native Windows app is that the hands-free invoking phrase “Hey Cortana” can only be used on Windows products; also toggling settings, opening apps are reserved for Windows users. Cortana on Android can do almost everything it does on Windows PCs and phones, from searching the web, to setting reminders, alerts, sending messages, making calls, etc, making it an ideal personal virtual assistant. Users can set Cortana on their home button or access her by simply pressing any assigned button.
According to a blogpost by Microsoft’s Susan Hendrich, “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,”
Though Windows holds only 2.5 per cent of the global smartphone market compared to Apple iOS’s 14.6 percent and Google Android’s 82 percent (Gartner survey), Cortana is already popular with 80% of people (Brandwatch study).