Cyanogen, the startup behind the Android-based Cyanogen mobile operating system, is working with Microsoft on a major integration of Microsoft’s Cortana personal digital assistant for Cyanogen OS, if a report today is to be believed. But Microsoft wouldn’t confirm the information.
Cyanogen is “working with Microsoft to deeply integrate Cortana into the next version of Cyanogen OS,” the International Business Times reported, today attributing the information to Cyanogen cofounder and chief executive Kirt McMaster. When VentureBeat reached out to Microsoft to learn more, a spokesman responded with a vague comment pointing to the partnership with Cyanogen that Microsoft unveiled earlier this year.
“As we announced in April, we’re excited to integrate Microsoft’s high-value services across the Cyanogen Operating System,” the spokesman wrote in an email to VentureBeat. “We have no further details to share at this time.”
A Cyanogen spokeswoman would not elaborate on the plans, either.
“We have a strategic partnership with them to integrate popular Microsoft services into our operating system,” she told VentureBeat in an email. “We have no other details to share at this time.”
You would think both companies would want to confirm the report at the very least, because it’s mutually beneficial. But that’s not the case today, oddly.
If it’s true that Cortana is coming to Cyanogen OS, it would be significant for Cyanogen as a mobile platform, which is available preinstalled on an increasing number of devices, including the OnePlus One. Cortana’s ability to deep-link into and control content in many mobile apps could help Cyanogen OS stand out even more from other phones running on Android or Android derivatives. Microsoft is making Cortana smarter and smarter, and in the future it could potentially do things that can’t be done with Android’s default personal digital assistant, Google Now.
The new level of partnership would also mean that Cortana is becoming more pervasive.
Cortana debuted on Windows Phone last year and is now available on PCs running Windows 10. Microsoft rolled out a Cortana app for Android in public beta last month, and it will appear on iOS, too. (Apple’s iOS devices, of course, come with Siri, which is expanding its presence to the Apple TV.) There’s no guarantee that most iOS and Android users will adopt it, but for those seeking new mobile experiences, a Cyanogen OS phone with Cortana from a Silicon Valley startup could be just right — especially for Windows 10 users who are getting to know Cortana.
Cyanogen’s Microsoft partnership in April brought technologies like Office, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, and Skype to Cyanogen. Microsoft was reported to be considering an investment in Cyanogen but ultimately chose not to participate in the startup’s $80 million round, which included top-tier investors Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark, and Redpoint Ventures.