“Siri, how well does Microsoft’s Cortana work on an iPhone or Android device?”
It may sound like a joke, but it’s not. Today, Microsoft said that this summer, for the first time, iPhone and Android users can access its digital voice assistant, Cortana, as an extension of their Windows 10 experience.
In a blog post, Microsoft announced an app that will make Cortana, the company’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Google Now, available to Windows 10 owners at launch. “We realize that many people use iPhones or Android phones, and we want them to enjoy some of their Windows experience and content while away from their Windows 10 PC,” Microsoft said in the blog post. “Regardless of the operating systems you choose across your devices–everything important to you should roam across the products you already own–including your phone.”
Although iPhone and Android users will be able ask Cortana for directions, the weather, reminders to pick things up at the store, and much more, the app won’t offer as many features as the full version for Windows Phone or PC.
“Some features require access to the system that aren’t currently possible with iOS or Android,” Microsoft wrote, “so things like toggling settings or opening apps won’t initially be available in the Cortana companions for those platforms.”
The blog post did not say when or if all features would be extended to iOS and Android.
But Microsoft does worry that some Windows users may not be super familiar with installing apps on iOS or Android devices, so it has bundled a “phone companion” feature in the Cortana app that will offer instructions on doing so.
Just don’t expect to be able to pull out your iPhone and surprise your friends by saying “Hey, Cortana.” Microsoft said that’s one of the features–kick-starting the digital assistant with voice only–that’s available exclusively on Windows Phones and PCs.