Voice-based personal digital assistants have been all the rage in 2016 and the trend is likely to continue in the coming year. At least, if all indications are anything to go by. While Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa are by far the most well-known of the lot, Microsoft’s Cortana and the newly-minted Google Assistant also have their fans, and not without reason. While Siri and Google Assistant remain exclusive to Apple and Google hardware respectively, Amazon has already started opening up Alexa to third-party hardware. Microsoft, of course, originally debuted Cortana exclusively on Windows Phone a couple of years ago, but the software has since been made available on other computation platforms, such as Android and iOS.
Although Cortana has been available on both Android and iOS in the U.S. and China for over a year, it is only now that the software will be available to Android and iPhone users in the British Isles. Interestingly, a major software vendor will, for once, release the Android version of an app before its iOS counterpart. Microsoft will reportedly launch Cortana in the UK today, although the availability will be restricted to Android devices only. The iOS version will apparently be launched “in a few weeks”, according to a post on Microsoft’s official blog by the Senior Product Marketing Manager for Cortana, Ms. Laura Jones. It will be interesting to see how quickly Microsoft can roll out Cortana to the two largest mobile platforms in the country and indeed, the rest of the world.
One important thing to note here is that the software has been fully revamped visually before its launch in the UK and will now have a “fresh” and “simplified” look with a strong emphasis on the color purple. The app also comes with the all-new ‘Quick Actions’ section that will show info about reminders, meetings and weather, all of which are likely to be used by a large number of users everywhere. It remains to be seen if Cortana can make a dent in the popularity of Siri and Alexa going forward, but Microsoft will be hoping that Cortana’s entry into the UK, however late it is, will be warmly welcomed by users in the UK.