On May 26, 2015, corporate vice president of Microsoft Windows Phone, Joe Belfiore, announced the new Phone Companion app in Windows 10 on the Windows Blog. This new app runs on your Windows 10 PC or tablet and walks you through setting up your phone. Whether you have Windows Phone, Android, or an iPhone, you’ll be able to bring some of your favorite Windows experiences such as OneDrive and Office directly to your device. This even includes Cortana, Microsoft’s personal digital assistant that was previously exclusive to Windows Phone.
Cortana will install as an application on Android phones and iPhones. When you launch the application, you can issue voice commands just like you can on Windows devices. Cortana will be able to do common activities such as setting reminders, perform Bing searches, and automatically track flights.
Due to OS and hardware limitations, there will be a few things that Cortana can’t do. For example, you won’t be able to launch other apps using Cortana. The “Hey, Cortana” functionality available on certain Windows Phones won’t be there either because that requires special integration with the device’s microphone. I don’t find these to be a deal breaker though. Cortana looks to be a great personal digital assistant regardless of what platform you use.
How can you try it out?
The Phone Companion app will be included in a future build available to members of the Windows Insider Program in the next few weeks. Cortana is coming to Android phones by the end of June. iPhone users will have to wait a bit longer because the app won’t be available until later this year. If you are not a member of the Windows Insider Program, it is free to join. You can join the program and get access to early builds of Windows 10 for you to try out.
In the promo video below, Joe Belfiore says, “We’re going to make sure Windows 10 is going to work great with whatever device you have.” Watch the video and you’ll get to see Cortana in use on an Android phone. With the number of apps released to Android and iOS in the last year, it is clear Microsoft is focusing on bringing a great experience to you regardless of what device you use.