If Cortana is your personal digital assistant of choice, you will never have to be separated from it again Microsoft is finally making good on a promise it made in May to enable people to use Cortana across mobile devices and PCs by releasing versions for iOS, Android, and Cyanogen devices, in addition to Windows 10 PCs.
“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,” Marcus Ash, group program manager for Cortana wrote in a blog post yesterday. “That’s why it’s important to us that we bring Cortana to not only the Windows 10 ecosystem, but to other platforms.”
Location Reminders, Tracking Capabilities
The new interoperability between devices provides users with several new features, including setting reminders across devices, responding to missed calls via PCs, and advanced location tracking capabilities. Information stored in Cortana’s Notebook on a PC such as interests and weather, will sync across devices and any changes made on one will be reflected on the others.
Cortana can also set a location-based reminder on one device and have it pop up on your smartphone when you arrive at the indicated location. For example, a user can tell Cortana via a PC to send a reminder to pick up a bottle of wine the next time the user is near a wine store, and have that reminder sent to a smartphone.
Another key feature is the Windows 10 missed call alert. If you're in a meeting and can’t take a call on your smartphone, the alert will pop up on your PC. You’ll then be able to have Cortana send a text to the caller from your PC. Users will also be able to track a number of items, including packages and flights, from their PCs and their smartphones.
More Features on Cyanogen than iOS or Android
Microsoft said that the smartphone versions of Cortana will be just as powerful as the PC versions, with the same ability to look up information and offer suggestions. But despite the new mobile versions, there will still be some things that Cortana won’t be able to do on iOS and Android devices. For example, users won’t be able to use Cortana to toggle settings or open apps, or invoke Cortana hands-free by saying “Hey Cortana.”
Cyanogen devices, on the other hand, do have the “Hey Cortana” feature, a result of its close relationship with Microsoft. Cyanogen users will also be able to ask Cortana to toggle network modes, power down the phone, and turn on Quiet Mode among other features. Meanwhile, Microsoft is touting even greater functionality for Cyanogen devices when an updated version of Cortana is rolled out for the OS early next year.
The Cortana app is available in the U.S. and China for Android devices running 4.1.2 and up, and for iPhone with iOS 8 and up. Users in the U.S. with One Plus One phones powered by the Android-based Cyanogen OS will be able to access Cortana later this month via a 12.1.1 over-the-air update.
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