Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana may no longer be exclusive to the Windows ecosystem. Cortana is currently only available on Windows Phone and the upcoming Windows 10 OS, but according to a Reuters report, Microsoft now plans to extend Cortana’s availability to iOS and Android devices.
The project to bring Cortana to other platforms is internally called “Einstein” and we’re hearing the popular assistant will come to iOS and Android as an advanced standalone app, available for phones as well as tablets.
“This kind of technology, which can read and understand email, will play a central role in the next roll out of Cortana, which we are working on now for the fall time frame,” said Eric Horvitz from Microsoft Research.
Over the last year, Microsoft has invested a lot into Cortana’s artificial intelligence capabilities and although many die-hard Microsoft fans will be disappointed that Cortana will no longer be exclusive to the Windows platform, having a wider audience for the assistant will greatly benefit Microsoft and the capabilities of Cortana.
Cortana is already deeply woven into Windows Phone, but this fall, Microsoft will be integrating Cortana deeply into Windows 10 and we expect that the personal assistant will also make its way to the Xbox One. The power of multiple device types using the same personal assistant can create a very powerful experience as they communicate with one another. If implemented correctly, the experience could offer something very unique and potentially game-changing.
This is yet another example of the CEO Satya Nadella’s push to sell Microsoft services on non-Windows platforms and devices as part of the mobile-first, cloud-first strategy. A perfect example of what Nadella is striving to achieve is what Skype has become. Skype is a truly universal tool that works across any device type and has practically become the industry standard in that particular market, and it’s expected to further solidify its position with the up and coming Skype Translator.
Microsoft’s aim is to create the same experience with Cortana, and have a truly cross-platform personal assistant that could work with any device in the hopes of becoming a universal standard as well. With Windows 10 being a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8.1 users, it’s expected to have a significant market penetration when it hits the market.
With Windows being regarded as a monopoly in the desktop computing market, it’s no question that hundreds of millions of people will have their first interaction with Cortana. Those users however, are most likely using iOS and Android on their smartphones and tablets, and would surely benefit in having Cortana extend her assistance on these devices which could potentially sway users from the likes of Siri and Google Now.