Microsoft To Email Invites For Cortana For iOS In The Coming Weeks
Microsoft had announced earlier that Cortana, its personal assistant (the company’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Google Now), would try to go head to head with the competition by offering cross platform support, including via both Android and iOS. True to its word, Microsoft deployed a Cortana version for the Android mobile operating system back in August earlier this year. Since the rollout, the Android beta build of Cortana has since racked up between 50,000 to 100,000 installations (per Google Play data), suggesting that many Android users are indeed open to the idea of using Microsoft’s Cortana instead of Google Now which is native to the Android environment.
The success of its Android beta build of Cortana aside, Microsoft is turning its focus to deploying a separate version for the iOS environment, and has even already started getting participants to test the beta build of the IOS compatible version, with invitations to be emailed to a select number of people in the next few weeks.
Various blogs have already picked up on the news including The Verge and ZDNet, both providing a link that leads to a poll for testers activated recently by Microsoft in its community forum on the web. As indicated on the survey, the Cortana beta version for iOS is only made available to users based in the United States and in China. The company was quick to note though that eventually, the version will become available to all regions where Cortana for Windows has support. Moreover, Microsoft is also recruiting testers to use the mobile app on a Windows 10 PC -- one of the questions on the pool mentioned about how often respondents use Windows 10.
Cortana is considered one of the most interesting features of Windows 10. Not only is it capable of facilitating voice operated searches, it also has the capability of retrieving information about sports updates, movie screening schedules, and restaurant bookings, and can even create reminders and set alarms, track flight information, make phone calls, and dictate SMS, among many other functionalities.
However, when used on smartphones and tablet devices, the Cortana mobile app is not as multifunctional as it is on Windows and Windows Phone. As a matter of fact, Microsoft has said beforehand that the Hey Cortana hotword feature (used when launching the mobile app) will not be made available for now. It is not confirmed yet, but if the iOS beta build of Cortana behaves like its Android counterpart, users may not be able to launch mobile apps from Cortana, or manage settings as easily as they can on Windows PCs.