Microsoft set to roll out Cortana on desktop PCs and Android devices

Windows Phone user interface (is Cortana on it?).

A Windows Phone user interface. Illustration by Bloomua/Shutterstock.

Today, Microsoft has announced the extension of Cortana onto Windows 10 PCs and non-Windows Phone mobile devices. The Redmond-based company has demonstrated their commitment to its speech-based rival to Google’s counterpart. At present, their speech-based system is available on Windows Phone devices. Could its extension to personal computers be a boost for its ailing smartphones?

“Cortana will be everywhere”

Microsoft is banking on its role in The Internet of Things. Could we see a Cortana powered fridge-freezer in the Argos catalogue soon? Or a Windows Phone being used to control the central heating? Its relaunch could be more modest, with Skype and MS Office integration its early dalliances.

Furthermore, Windows Phone has been deemed as a dead platform by some critics. In spite of this, its position as a smartphone platform for cost-conscious mobile users sees the ‘dead’ phone as Britain’s third most popular mobile OS. Perhaps Cortana could be a hit in the UK again (“No, that was the Ford Cortina!” – Ed).

Whereas Steve Ballmer regretted Windows Phone’s late release (losing out to Google and Apple), Microsoft’s present CEO, Satya Nadella, has given it a three-year stay of execution.

A Turning Point?

In today’s cloud-orientated and mobile-friendly landscape, the old insular approach that would have worked 20 years ago is no longer valid. Satya Nadella has been quick to notice the change in trends and elaborating on Cortana’s strengths could be a good place to start.

Windows Phone and the spiffy Windows 10 Mobile has its fans, primarily in the UK and France as detailed in a previous article on our blog. On the other hand, Satya has realised how Cortana has been undersold as an app on a single system.

In the long run, Windows Phones may be passed on to young children whose older siblings or parents have opted for Android, iOS or Windows 10 Mobile devices. With Windows Phone users being able to roll back to Windows 8.1 Mobile, this will extend the life of older devices. For now, we await developments with great interest.

Tabard IT, 05 April 2016.

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