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Friday, March 13, 2015

Microsoft's digital assistant Cortana may be headed to Android and iOS


Cortana could be headed to iOS and Android

Microsoft introduced Cortana on Windows Phone, but is also introducing their Halo inspired digital personal assistant to PCs and tablets with the release of Windows 10. Now a newly surfaced report suggests that Cortana will also be making a debut on iOS and Android later this year.

Despite all the work Microsoft is putting into Windows 10, it will be awhile before the platform can catch up with Android and iOS. In the meantime, Microsoft has been working hard building its ecosystem on its competitors platforms, bringing services like Office, Skype and its OneDrive cloud storage to the masses.

By bringing Cortana to Android and iOS, the company will be able to upgrade its functions even more through research from an artificial intelligence project called "Einstein." The virtual assistant, named after an artificial intelligence character who appears in most of the main Halo games, could go so far as to plan out a trip to the airport. She would prep boarding passes, check traffic and flight delays, all from reading emails related to the matter.
Cortana could tell a mobile phone user when to leave for the airport, days after it read an email and realized the user was planning a flight. It would automatically check flight status, determine where the phone is located using GPS, and checking traffic conditions.

"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, managing director of Microsoft Research and a part of the Einstein project, in an interview at the company's Redmond, Washington, headquarters.
While Microsoft has not officially confirmed this report, a Cortana app for Android and iOS could extend the program's reach beyond the company's smaller share of the smartphone business, and perhaps win over converts not impressed with the functionality of Apple's Siri or Google Now.

While Siri finds a home solely on iOS devices, Google Now is available across iOS, Android and Windows. Its important for Microsoft to try and step past its competitors, and bringing Cortana to Android and iOS could be a great step forward in that direction.


source - Reuters
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