Cor­tana for iOS and An­droid

Mi­crosoft’s vir­tual as­sis­tant is launch­ing in the UK on non-Win­dows plat­forms, writes Blair Han­ley Frank

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

Mi­crosoft’s Cor­tana vir­tual as­sis­tant is get­ting a facelift on iOS and An­droid, aimed at mak­ing it more use­ful for users, and also bring­ing a bit of bright­ness to its dour in­ter­face.

The app’s big­gest change is the launch of a but­ton that lets users quickly choose be­tween a suite of com­mon ac­tions, such as view­ing their cal­en­dar at a glance, check­ing re­minders or get­ting a weather fore­cast. The app it­self looks friend­lier, with a pur­ple gra­di­ent back­ground (see right) re­plac­ing a stark black, white and blue colour scheme.

On top of that, Mi­crosoft has an­nounced that the iOS and An­droid ver­sions of Cor­tana are com­ing to the UK. The firm has been slow to ex­pand its vir­tual as­sis­tant’s ge­o­graphic reach un­til it has been set up to work with lo­cal so­cial norms and other ex­pec­ta­tions.

The Cor­tana app is a key part of Mi­crosoft’s strat­egy for its vir­tual as­sis­tant. Win­dows smart­phones are an ex­treme mi­nor­ity com­pared to the iOS- and An­droid­pow­ered de­vices that over­whelm­ingly dom­i­nate the mar­ket. If Mi­crosoft wants Cor­tana to be ubiq­ui­tous, it’s im­por­tant to in­vest in an app that works on other plat­forms.

The vir­tual as­sis­tant is a ma­jor fea­ture of Mi­crosoft’s Win­dows 10 push, along with its larger am­bi­tions around pow­er­ing in­tel­li­gent as­sis­tants. Cor­tana is com­pet­ing in a crowded mar­ket, against the likes of Siri, Alexa and the Google As­sis­tant.

In ad­di­tion to the re­design, Mi­crosoft also said the app is faster than its pre­vi­ous ver­sion, which will be help­ful for com­pet­ing against other as­sis­tants.

The up­date is avail­able to An­droid de­vices now through the Google Play Store, and the iOS app will get up­dated early 2017.

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