Microsoft announces today that is rolling out the first beta preview of Cortana for Android. Early this year, the software giant revealed that Cortana, its own version of Apple’s Siri and Google Now, will be arriving this year as an app for Android and iOS, but today the company says that it’s already shipping the first beta for Android phones.
The catch is that in order get the app for testing, you need to be a Windows Insider and have obtained an invite.
“We know that there’s a choice of mobile devices out there, so we want help from our Windows Insiders to make sure she’s a great personal assistant on Android too,” Microsoft’s Anannya Podder says in the company’s support forums. “We are looking for a limited number of people to get their hands on an early version of the app. It’s important to keep in mind that is the first public release of the Cortana for Android beta. And that for now, Cortana for Android is only available in the U.S. and China. Over the coming months, we’ll continue to deliver frequent updates to the app to expand the features and functionality.”
Although, Microsoft is bringing its digital assistant to other platforms, Cortana will always work best on Windows 10, as the company can integrate the assistant deeply into its operating system. Something, the software maker can’t do in other platforms.
For example, the hands-free, “Hey, Cortana”, that you can use on Windows 10 or Windows phones doesn’t work on other platforms. Deep search and get help using Cortana in the same it works using Microsoft Edge, also won’t work on Android or iOS. Cortana is nothing than an app for now, and you will always have to launch the app before performing any tasks.
“Cortana is your truly personal digital assistant, there to help you get things done,” Podder shares. “By learning more about you over time, Cortana becomes more useful every day. Cortana helps you be more productive by completing basic tasks like sending emails, scheduling events, and using the power of Bing to quickly search your devices, the cloud, or the web. Cortana’s also the best at reminders, delivering them at the right time and place so you forget less and can do more.”
How to download and try Cortana for Android
If you want to test the early beta version of Cortana for Android, you’ll need to complete a short survey, then you’ll get notified to download the app.
Looking at the survey, it would appear that, for now, the app only works on the following Android phones: Nexus 5, Nexuz 6, HTC One, LG Flex, Flex 2, G2 or G3, Moto X or G, Samsung Galaxy Note 3, 4, S4, S5, or S6, and Sony Xperia Z3. In addition, the phone also requires to have running Android 4.1 or later.
Microsoft’s spoke person says that Cortana is available for Android for a limited number of users in the United States and China, but the company hints that a public beta version will arrive in the coming weeks.