Microsoft today officially launched its virtual assistant Cortana as a downloadable app for iOS and Android platforms (via Business Insider). Similar to Apple's Siri personal assistant, Cortana allows Windows users to set reminders, preview the weather, and answer basic questions thanks to integrated internet search abilities. Other Cortana for iOS and Android features include the following:
•Set and get location and time reminders across your PC and phone.
•Track packages, flights, scores, stocks, and other important info across your PC and phone.
•Use Cortana’s Notebook to view, edit and manage your interests
•Get information and answers to all kinds of questions. If you’re looking for it, Cortana can help find it.
•Have a little fun in your down time — ask anything, get jokes, and much more.
Microsoft detailed a few features for Cortana at Business Insider's Ignition Conference in New York City, including abilities like asking Cortana for help with your voice without having to open up the app. Unfortunately, most of those features won't be available to iOS users due to certain developer restrictions that fence off Cortana from becoming fully integrated into iOS.
On the other hand, a few Android smartphones will gain a leg up on the iOS version of Cortana thanks to a partnership between Microsoft and start-up company Cyanogen, which runs a custom version of the OS on select Android devices. With Cyanogen software, Android users will have essentially all of the abilities Windows Phone users have over Cortana, including being able to speak to the personal assistant without opening up the separate app.
After some rumors and speculation earlier in the year, in May Microsoft confirmed that Cortana would be heading to non-Windows Phone platforms later this year. In November, the company opened up beta sign-ups for users to test out Cortana for iOS in a pre-release state.