Cortana for Android Leaked as Beta App Ready for Download

A beta version of Microsoft’s digital personal assistant Cortana for Android leaked yesterday, much to the excitement of Android users nationwide. Recently given as an exclusive offer to Windows Insiders, Microsoft originally planned to test its functionality before giving the app an official release later this month. For those too impatient to wait for Cortana’s official launch, you can download the .apk file here, and upload it to your Android device.


Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to iOS’s Siri, and Window’s Google Now—a digital buddy, eager to help users with day-to-day activities by covering a wide variety of uses, such as finding the nearest gas station, access pictures and documents stored on the cloud, and scheduling important events. Users are also encouraged to input their personal preferences into the app’s “Notebook” (such as one’s favorite type of food, or how willing they’d be to travel to the nearest destination) to help Cortana narrow the range of choices to best suit your needs. Those already familiar with the Windows Phone version of Cortana will have no trouble navigating their way through the app, as the interface for the Android beta version is nearly identical.


While Cortana for Android is able to help you schedule meetings, pick out just the right place for dinner, check the weather, and send pre-scheduled emails just as well as its already-released versions, Microsoft is careful to warn us that the app is still very much in its beta stages, and is thus lacking a few key functions. Unlike its predecessors, the Android version does not yet include an interactive widget, but is instead only available as a standard app. Additionally, you are not yet able to access it by calling out “Hey Cortana!” as you can with the Windows Phone version. Although no specific plans for improving the app were mentioned, Microsoft was quick to promise us fast and frequent updates upon its official release. With this information, it’s not too hard to imagine these functions being added within the next few weeks, as well as the inevitable bug fixes that come with the testing of a beta app.


This recent development should come as no surprise to those who have been following Microsoft’s official blog, which recently stated their plans to integrate Cortana across a wide variety of platforms, including the XBox One, iOS devices, and the new Windows 10 operating system. Imagine you have an important job interview in a few days. You know you’re a forgetful person, so you schedule a reminder for the date and time of the interview using Cortana on your phone or tablet. But when the big day comes around, you forget all about, and your phone is nowhere to be seen, so you decide to play video games on your Xbox One instead of preparing—yikes! Now imagine Cortana (also downloaded on your Xbox One) pausing your game to remind you of your interview, just in time. This is Microsoft’s ultimate goal: to become a constant and helpful presence in your life by incorporating Cortana’s many uses across a wide variety of digital platforms.

What kinds of improvements do you hope to see with the official release of Cortana for Android later this month? Drop a thought in the comments below!


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