Use this leaked Cortana APK to load the personal assistant on your Android …

18 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cortana for Android Beta hands on (and vs Google Now).

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. Just a few hours ago, Microsoft’s Cortana app for Android leaked out ahead of its official launch, allowing eager users to get an early look at the virtual assistant application. 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. We can’t be totally sure, but Tom Warren at The Verge sure seems to think so, and his Microsoft sources are rarely wrong. (An iOS version is also coming later this year.) After installing, you’ll be prompted to login to your Microsoft account, and sure enough you can do all sorts of voice assistant things from there.

At its Worldwide Partner Conference, CEO Satya Nadella formally presented the company’s new mission, several new products were announced, and what’s close to the final version of Windows 10 was deployed to insiders to test out the distribution technology. “I want to anchor us on our ambition,” Nadella told the over 14,000 attendees during his discussion of the company’s mission statement. 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.

You can also have Cortana set alarms for you, and yes, Cortana will respond like a regular human when you ask questions like “How are you.” (Cortana says “Great, thanks.”) The one really cool feature is location-based reminders. So I asked Cortana to “remind me to buy milk when I’m at the store,” and it automatically pulled up a list of grocery stores nearby where I might want to buy milk.

In the video, we run your through the Cortana experience and then look at how it compares to Google Now while below the video, we’re talking through the experience as we’ve found it. Read on “We’re now moving forward to a mobile first, cloud first world,” he went on. “We are focused on helping our customers achieve greatness with digital technology.” Project GigJam illustrates one way the company is shaking things up. Some features like asking Cortana to send messages to contacts appear to be a little unfinished, but location-based reminders appear to work as they should.

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? Rather than running various apps, it uses the Cortana assistant’s intelligence to pull data into the program from multiple platforms, and to automatically create relationships between elements.

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. To be clear, 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 sideloading apps. For example, you can instruct Cortana to pull in orders, then to go to another program to pull in contacts, which it can link to the associated orders. 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. The big question is whether people like me who love Google Now will opt-in to the service, when they’ve already got a native voice assistant that works.

One thing that could be really compelling is setting reminders to pick up the milk / dry cleaning / etc from your Windows 10 desktop or laptop computer, and having them pop up on your phone when you’re near the right location. Julia White, general manager of the Microsoft Office division, said that GigJam actually creates a mini app on the fly and sends it to shared devices, be they Windows machines, iPhones, or some other device. 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. Based on Microsoft Azure, it combines a collection of Microsoft technologies such as Cortana, Bing, speech and vision, and machine learning, into a subscription-based fully managed big data and advanced analytics suite. “This capability is what will help each one of you take very sophisticated technology and enable any business to transform themselves through the power of data,” Nadella said. “It’s going to have core information management capability.

Similar to the main card view in Google Now, Cortana gives you a giant list of what it thinks you’re interested in – from today’s news and weather to movies playing near you. That means you can harness all the data inside of your organization.” Nadella also spoke about use cases for Microsoft’s HoloLens holographic system, including a partnership with Autodesk.

You can of course click on whatever piece of recommended information you’d like and check out more details when the full page opens up in your browser. For the first time, we’re taking the cloud code base and delivering that with our SharePoint Server 2016.” In addition to the new SharePoint, White said that the next twelve months hold the release of new Office clients and servers, Skype Cloud PBX, and CRM Machine Learning. 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 » That being said, Cortana still does recognise accents – although simple words like Slack seem to cause it some trouble but that may be due to my British accent – and performance is actually quite smooth (apart from the odd glitch here and there).

Given it’s a beta, performance issues were to be expected but as a whole, the experience is better than we might have expected given this early stage. For instance, telling Cortana to “text Jimmy Westenberg” confuses the app, while telling it to “text Jimmy” pulls up the correct contact name and number. With this build of the app, Cortana responds vocally to simple questions such as “what’s the weather like today”, though conversational search doesn’t work as well as it does on the Windows platform. But with that said, even though most of the shortcomings we mentioned will probably be ironed out in the future, launching a voice assistant on another platform is a difficult thing to do.

That’s not to say what Microsoft has produced is incapable by any means, but for those who don’t own a Windows 10 computer or Windows Phone, we’re not exactly sure this application will catch on to the majority of users.

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