Microsoft developing Cortana app for iOS, Android

However, the versions for iOS and Android won't have all the functionality of the Cortana app for Windows

The Phone Companion app in Windows will allow people to setup the Cortana voice-assistant on iPhones and Android devices.

The Phone Companion app in Windows will allow people to setup the Cortana voice-assistant on iPhones and Android devices.

Microsoft is bringing Cortana to iOS and Android smartphones, extending the voice-controlled personal assistant to platforms beyond Windows 10 and Windows Phone.

Using the Cortana iOS and Android apps people will be able to dictate emails, set appointments and conduct Web searches by speaking commands, among other features. The app will also let people arrange to receive notifications like sports scores and flight information.

Windows 10 will include a program called Phone Companion to help people set up on Cortana and sync their PCs with their smartphone, whether it runs iOS, Android or Windows Phone. The Phone Companion program will also let users sync OneNote, Music, Office and OneDrive between their Windows 10 PC and their Android, iOS or Windows Phone smartphone.

Not all of the Cortana features available to Windows Phone users will initially work on iOS and Android devices because Microsoft doesn't have full access to the inner workings of those OSes. For example, people with iPhones and Android phones won't be able to launch Cortana by speaking a command since that feature requires accessing the phone's microphone. Instead, iPhone and Android users will have to manually open Cortana. The ability to open apps and change settings with voice commands will also be limited to devices running Windows Phone.

The Cortana Android app will come out in June and be available in the Google Play store. The iPhone app will appear in the Apple App store later this year, Microsoft said.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

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