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Microsoft's Cortana Headed to iPhone and Android Phones

Microsoft’s quest to be a meaningful part of your mobile life continues.

On Tuesday, the company said that Cortana, its smart personal assistant for Windows 10 PCs and Windows phones, will be arriving on Android phones at the end of June, hitting iPhones later this year. Cortana’s arrival is part of a larger cross-platform mobile strategy centered around the newly announced Phone Companion app for iOS and Android, which will help users configure their phones to work (and play) well with their Windows 10 computer.

The Cortana app will enable users to do most of what the spirited assistant can do on a Windows computer or phone, including track a flight, prompt you to leave for your next meeting based on traffic conditions, even remind you to pick up gluten-free pasta when you are at the supermarket. Similar to the Windows phone app, you’ll be able to specify what information the assistant can access in Cortana’s Notebook.

There are things the iPhone or Android versions of Cortana won’t be able to do, including access third-party apps and respond to just the verbal “Hey Cortana, ” but once you’ve launched the app, for all intents and purposes, you still get her smarts and talents.

Microsoft also announced a forthcoming update to the Xbox Music app for Android and iOS that will allow people who store music in a OneDrive cloud account to stream that music free to their device. Other app updates will enable easier access to photos and Office documents across all manner of phones, tablets and computers.

This passionate commitment to Android and iOS begs the question: Why would I ever get a Windows phone now?

Windows 10 for phones, available later this year, will offer unique features such as Continuum, which turns the phone into a PC when hooked up to a monitor or docking station. Microsoft hopes to bolster the platform by giving it the ability to run apps originally created for iOS or Android.

But the release of Cortana and the companion app—as well as other fully featured Microsoft apps like OneDrive, Office and Outlook.com—on iOS and Android is an acknowledgment that Windows phones will likely never be chosen by a significant chunk of even the most diehard Windows users.

As long as you’re using Microsoft’s apps and software instead of Google’s or Apple’s, especially on that new Windows 10 PC you plan to buy later this summer, then Microsoft may not even mind.

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