Cortana for Android leaks out a bit early

19 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cortana for Android leaks, Microsoft suggests a tester in the U.S. or China is to blame.

Following an apparent leak of Cortana for the Android platform, Microsoft released comment indicating that it is in fact testing its digital assistant for the Google platform, and will cut it live in short order.Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) announcement in May regarding its Cortana digital assistance app stated the tech giant planned to launch the virtual app for Android devices in summer 2015.

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. Unofficial Microsoft News says the leaked build is “functional” and that it has all the features you can expect from Cortana on Windows 10, so it would seem to be a pretty direct port of the software.

You can access Cortana’s notebook to control information stored about you, and there’s the usual options for bringing up events, nearby places to eat and drink, news, sports, weather, and more. Thought-leaders from the biggest brands and most disruptive companies will share winning growth strategies on the most pressing challenges marketing leaders face today. According to Venture Beat reports: “This leak isn’t just a bunch of screenshots: it’s the actual .APK file, which means anyone with an Android device can install it by simply disabling the security setting for side-loading apps.” Regarding the untimely release of the beta version before launch, Microsoft pointed at the app being tested by developers in China and the US as a more plausible reason than an employee breaching the company’s legal contract.

Over the coming months, we’ll continue to deliver frequent updates to the app to expand the features and functionality,” read a blog post from Microsoft this past Tuesday. If you decide to take it for a spin, keep in mind the leaked version of Cortana is still a beta—and one that wasn’t necessarily intended for public consumption—so you may encounter bugs along the way. Microsoft’s comment that the code will drop inside the next month is notable, as that is roughly in keeping with the launch date of Windows 10 itself, where Cortana has most recently found a new home; the software firm has worked to integrate Cortana across its various Windows brand endpoints.

It will be controversial among the Windows faithful that something built originally for them will find beachhead on rival platforms — if you share all that is unique, are you still a special butterfly? But as we’ve argued at TechCrunch recently, Microsoft is pursuing a two-prong mobile strategy, including endless work to build out its own mobile platform, while also ensuring that it finds home via apps on the two other key on-the-go operating systems.

Microsoft has previously said that Cortana would launch on Android phones at the end of June, followed by iPhones “later this year.” While there’s no update for iOS today, we’re in July now and the statement above confirms the Android beta launch is now expected in the “next few weeks.” Microsoft has previously said “Android phones” and “iPhones” as opposed to Android and iOS devices. Since the digital assistant is designed to respond to your commands and perform activities on your behalf, you have to give it a not-so-insignificant number of permissions when you install the app onto your Android device. You’ll have to load the app like a standard Android app and interact with it either by viewing its preselected “cards” of information or by tapping a microphone icon and asking Cortana a direct query. Cortana’s notebook is available as you’d expect and voice recognition works perfectly fine, though there are some obvious bugs left to be squashed.

In the meantime, if you’d prefer not to use the leaked beta but still want to help Microsoft test the Android app, fill out this Cortana beta survey and you might just get the chance. Microsoft Corporation is a public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through … read more »

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