Is Cortana coming to iOS and Android ?

CortanaThose familiar with Windows Phone may have heard about Cortana, the voice activated digital personal assistant, who is headed to Windows Phones through the Windows Phone 8.1 update. But will Cortana remain a Windows Phone exclusive? Or does Microsoft have plans to bring it across other platforms?

Google has made its Google Now experience available to iOS users, and it looks like Microsoft may be planning something similar. At the SMX Advanced search marketing conference in Seattle on Friday, Microsoft's Marcus Ash, the group program manager for Cortana on Windows Phone, went into the reasons why the software giant might be open to sharing Cortana with other platforms.

Microsoft plans to eventually bring Cortana to Windows 8, but they are concerned how the service will provide a complete experience for the user who owns a Kindle tablet or an iPhone. Microsoft clearly is thinking about how a user can have a Cortana experience across all of their devices, irrelevant of which platform they choose.

Cortana was essentially an upgrade to the Bing app on Windows Phone.. So it may make sense for Microsoft to extend their Bing app experience on iOS and Android to eventually support Cortana. While it might make sense, it wouldn't be easy to do. Rob Chambers, a group program manager from Microsoft Research, said that getting the program to work as "seamlessly" on devices running other operating systems, could be problematic. As an example, he pointed out that a phone running Cortana would have to always be running on on low-power so that Cortana can be ready at all times to spring into action.

Currently Nokia's X Series runs Android and it looks like Microsoft may continue supporting the platform for awhile. If Microsoft is going to invest its resources on Android development, we wouldn't mind seeing a Facebook Home or Google Now Launcher style interface developed for the X Series along with other Android handsets. This will allow Microsoft to allow access to Cortana, just like Google Now. Unfortunately this solution would be restricted to Android and would not work for iPhone customers.

In any case, Cortana will remain an exclusive to Windows Phone 8.1, and will eventually make its way across Microsoft's ecosystem. Hopefully we wont have to wait too long for Cortana to offer a cross platform experience across iOS and Android.

source - GeekWire@markguim (Twitter)

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