Microsoft kicks off the new week by confirming rumors that they are bringing their Cortana personal digital assistant, which is fully integrated into Windows 10, to Android and iPhones devices this year.
Along with the Cortana announcement Microsoft has also revealed they will release a new Windows 10 app called Phone Companion that will simplify the process of connecting the Windows 10 experience to users mobile devices such as Windows Phone, Android and iPhone.
"But, we also realize that many people use iPhones or Android phones, and we want them to enjoy some of their Windows experience and content while away from their Windows 10 PC. Regardless of the operating systems you choose across your devices – everything important to you should roam across the products you already own – including your phone."
The Phone Companion app, available later this year in a future build of the Windows 10 Insider Preview, when launched will ask you for your phone type and then walk you through the process of installing the apps you need to connect to your Windows 10 data.
Windows 10 Phone Companion App
Windows 10 Phone Companion App - Android Install Screen
The Cortana App for Android and iPhones, available in June and later this year respectively, will enable those devices to enjoy many of Cortana's capabilities such as reminders and flight tracking. The Cortana app on Android and iPhones will know everything about you that is included in your Notebook and that information will sync across all of your devices and be available in the app.
There are limitations to what Cortana can do on these other platforms though:
"Although the functionality will be very helpful, because it’s “just an app” there will be certain things that Cortana does on Windows phones that won’t work on Android devices or iPhones. Some features require access to the system that aren’t currently possible with iOS or Android, so things like toggling settings or opening apps won’t initially be available in the Cortana companions for those platforms. Similarly, the ability to invoke Cortana hands-free by saying “Hey Cortana” requires special integration with the device’s microphone, so that feature will be limited to Windows Phones and PCs."
Included in the announcement blog post about these new apps is a small tidbit that indicates Microsoft will bring their Music app to these devices at some point this year as well.
That means users will be able to stream their music collection stored in OneDrive directly to their Android or iPhones like we can on Windows and Windows Phone already.
Microsoft continues to make it easy for users on other mobile devices to connect to Microsoft services which in turn helps in their efforts to make the experience mobile.