Microsoft’s earlier announced its plans to roll out its Cortana for Android and iOS, and now an APK of the Halo inspired personal digital assistant has been leaked online for Android. It’s clear that the leak has come from one of the early beta testers who must’ve signed up for the beta program. Though it seems right after the leak, Microsoft officially made the app available for Windows Insiders who can try them out on their Android devices.
“In the spirit of the Windows Insider Program, we’re testing the Cortana for Android beta with a limited number of users in the U.S. and China before releasing the beta publicly in the next few weeks,” said Microsoft in statement to ZDNet addressing the leak.
Hence, interested users can now try the beta version of Cortana for Android, which was earlier leaked on SuomiMobiili, and was later re-uploaded to APKMirror and similar repositories. However, the beta version is only limited to phones running Android 4.4 KitKat and above.
To load the APK, users need to make sure they enable the ‘Unknown Sources’ in the ‘Settings’ > ‘Security’. Once this feature is enabled, it allows users to install apps from unknown sources.
For now, Cortana’s Android version is not offering all the features compared to its Windows counterpart. For instance, Cortana for now doesn’t respond when a user says ‘Hey Cortana!’ though the company says it is trying its level best to make all these features available on other platforms as well.
The official beta version of Cortana for Android should be rolling out in the coming weeks, though for now it is officially available for members of the Windows Insider Program. Interested users in the U.S. can take a short survey to get early access to the beta version, as the company says it’ll be sending download links to select users via email.
Making Cortana available for other platforms is a pretty good indication as to what Microsoft is aiming at. The company wants to build a new Windows ecosystem, across devices and different platforms for that unified Windows experience. With the launch of Windows 10 scheduled for a global rollout on July 29, Microsoft wants to attract more users to its platforms by offering free upgrades and cross-platform compatibility to many of its popular apps and services. It’ll be interesting to see how the launch of Windows 10 changes the overall dynamics of device usage; will it be able to attain that unified user experience the company is aiming for?