Cortana, Microsoft's answer to Siri, is finally getting its release via the App Store and Google Play on Dec. 9.
While Cortana was previously available for Android during its initial period of beta testing, its official launch has added iOS to its docket of compatible platforms. In addition to this, the app is also accessible via Microsoft's Windows 10 companion app, and preloaded to the Cyanogen OS-powered OnePlus One smartphone — as long as it has the 12.1.1 Cyanogen update. As for Apple and Android, the app is compatible with iOS 8 or Android 4.1.2.
According to Microsoft, the virtual personal assistant does a lot of what Siri can do — PC style, that is. Like Siri, you can ask the app questions — Cortana can even "chat with you" and "make jokes" — and use it to handle day-to-day tasks, like managing your calendar, finding files on your PC, setting reminders, and looking up stuff on the web or changing phone settings using the "Hey, Cortana" command mode.
"It's been a fascinating experience to learn how you think about a personal assistant that runs across multiple platforms," said Marcus Ash, a Microsoft program manager who has been working on Cortana's compatibility for both Android and iOS since March. Ash's team has been working with other Microsoft developers from Office, OneDrive and Skype for more cross-platform connections, like Cortana's ability to send texts from your PC if installed on both devices.
Right now, Cortana is available only in the U.S. and China, but will expand to other regions in the near future.