Microsoft’s Cortana for Android, Cyanogen now out of beta

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cortana for iOS, Android Available Now.

Uber’s product team has now upgraded its smartphone only experience into an all-round Window Universal app. But the app is dead on arrival because the experience is seriously flawed from the get-go. “You will still need a phone to complete the ride,” Microsoft said.

The voice-activated digital assistant, designed to organize users’ calendar and email items, the weather, and news interests, is available from Apple’s App Store and Google Play in the U.S. and China starting Wednesday, Microsoft said. The app which was earlier locked down to just the smartphone for Windows 10 Mobile users has now evolved to an app that scales to tablets and desktops, powered by Windows 10.

Cortana is the Redmond company’s entry in a crowded field of assistants aimed at simplifying basic tasks and Web searches by allowing users to carry out functions without fumbling on a phone keyboard or opening a Web browser. Microsoft has commented that users will just need to register with their mobile number (like always) on the desktop app and you can book a ride directly from your desktop without the need to touch your Windows 10 powered smartphone. To some software developers working on the tools, digital assistants promise the next advance in human interaction with computers, perhaps supplanting the Web search box or mouse and keyboard for some tasks. Given that Microsoft and Cynogen are working together more closely these days, Microsoft said it “created a more integrated experience” for the open-source OS. For example, it has enabled “Hey Cortana” voice activation on Cyanogen devices “so you can call on her while on any screen or when you’re immersed in an app,” Marcus Ash, Cortana group program manager, wrote in a blog post. “The custom integration includes the ability to ask Cortana to toggle network modes, power down your phone, and turn on Quiet Mode amongst other features.

With Quiet Mode enabled, all notifications, calls and alarms will be silenced.” “Hey Cortana” functionality is not available on iOS or Android, nor is toggling settings or opening apps. But you can do things like set a location-based reminder on your PC—just before leaving work, perhaps—and have it pop up on your smartphone once you’ve arrived at the set destination.

More importantly Uber users with new Windows 10 app also qualify for a free ride (a credit up to $20) if they use the code MSFTWIN10 under the promotions tab. There were rumors about it expanding beyond the Windows ecosystem, however, and that was confirmed in August, when Microsoft released a beta version of Cortana for Android. A beta for iOS arrived last month. “Cortana was created to be a truly personal digital assistant—available on the go, no matter where or when you need help, and on whatever device you carry,” Ash wrote. Microsoft’s statement now reads: “You can use your phone if you would like to contact your driver by call or text.” If you’re an existing user, however, the Uber desktop app will get you where you need to go.

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