Microsoft confirms Cortana is coming to iPhones, Android

Microsoft is readying new Cortana companion apps for iPhones and Android devices that the company will introduce later this year.

Microsoft is bringing its Cortana digital personal assistant to Android phones and iPhones in the form of an app.

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Microsoft officials confirmed that Cortana is coming to non-Windows platforms -- as Microsoft Chief Experience Officer of Microsoft's Applications and Services Group Julie Larson-Green indicated it would last fall -- via a May 26 blog post.

A new Phone Companion app on Windows 10 PCs will help users install the Cortana app from the Google Play or Apple App Stores on their phones.

The Cortana app for iPhones and Android phones will be able to do "most of the things" Cortana does on Windows 10 PCs or Windows Phones, Microsoft officials said, including setting reminders, tracking flights and the like. Everything that users enable to show up in Cortana's Notebook will show up across Windows, Android and iOS devices.

There are things Cortana won't be able to do on iPhones and Android devices, such as toggling settings, opening apps; and responding hands-free when users say "Hey Cortana," Microsoft officials said. This is because Microsoft, at least for now, doesn't have the required access to the OS elements that are required for deeper-level integration.

The Phone Companion app will be built into Windows 10 and allow users to connect their Windows PCs to whatever phones they own, whether they are Windows Phones, Android phones or iPhones.

When will the Phone Companion app and Cortana apps for iPhones and Android devices be available?

Microsoft execs said the Phone Companion app will be coming to a new Windows 10 Insider Preview build "we'll flight out in a few weeks." The Cortana companion app will be available for Android phones at the end of June and for iPhones later this year, officials added.

The Office Now work-assistant technology under development at Microsoft, which sounds from tips and leaks like it might be a companion app to Cortana, is also going to be cross-platform.

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