Microsoft has recently shifted its focus from pushing their own mobile platform (although they didn’t give up altogether) to getting their services onto other platforms (aka iOS and Android). After all, its better to support major platforms and retain customers than lose them altogether while trying to win the mobile race. Their recent purchases of popular smart phone productivity apps like Sunrise, Acompli and the release of a full fledged MS Office productivity suite for Android clearly indicate where they are heading.
Furthering this trend, Microsoft released Cortana on Android. Voice assistant capability on mobile phones is still in its infancy and up for grabs because neither OkayGoogle-for-Android nor Siri-for-iOS are all that capable. If Microsoft manages to provide a better feature set, it might as well end up being the winner. It is easier said than done given the deep integration advantages Google and Apple have on their respective platforms but if Microsoft’s success with its email/calendar apps on competing platforms is anything to go by, one can’t write off their attempts to take over the voice space.
Getting Cortana onto as many platforms as possible also helps Microsoft improve the service. Understanding different accents and different ways users interact by voice is key to building a great voice assistant and one way to accomplish this is by getting your service used out in the wild as much as possible. So, by launching Cortana on Android, Microsoft can gather valuable data that can in turn improve Cortana’s abilities on Windows PCs. It works the other way too. By gathering voice data from its vast Windows 10 user base, Microsoft will be able to deliver a better voice assistant experience on mobile platforms compared to the native voice assistants like Siri. May be Microsoft is onto something here!
You can try Cortana on Android by downloading the app here.