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Microsoft today launched Cortana for Android phones as a public beta. To try it out, you have to be a U.S. resident willing to become a tester using this Google Play link.
In May, Microsoft revealed that its digital assistant Cortana would be coming to Android and iOS. Last month, a beta build of Cortana for Android leaked, letting Android users give the assistant a try for the first time.
Cortana for Android is the companion to your Windows 10 PC. That means the app extends Cortana’s functionality across to your Android phone, so you can use the digital assistant on the go.
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Cortana for Android lets you start and complete tasks across devices, set and get reminders, search the web on the go, and track important information such as flight details. Unlike the leaked build, the public beta includes the ability to set Cortana as the destination for the home button press.
That said, Cortana for Android cannot do everything the assistant can do on Windows 10 PCs or on a Windows phone. For example, toggling settings, opening apps, or invoking Cortana hands-free by saying “Hey Cortana” are features only available on Windows devices. Microsoft did, however, say that this is “for now” so the company is clearly still working to figure out how best to add these options to Cortana for Android as well.
The “for Android phones” part here is also a noticeable limitation. When we tried the leaked build, it worked on an Android tablet. Now that the public beta is available, we’ve asked Microsoft for details on the discrepancy.
Update: Android tablets are indeed currently not supported, a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat. In fact, Google Play will only allow the installation on an Android phone.
Although Cortana for Android is currently only available in the U.S., Microsoft said it is “planning to roll it out to other markets.” We’ll keep you posted as Cortana for Android launches out of beta, and when it debuts on iOS.
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