Earlier today the APK file for the private beta version of Microsoft's Cortana for Android leaked onto the internet. Microsoft later clarified that the public version will come later this month. We fired up the personal assistant on our Galaxy S6 Edge to see what the hubbub was all about.
Long story short, Cortana on Android is exactly what you expected it to be: a fancy search engine and personal assistant. However, as we also anticipated it is rather handicapped on Android compared to the native version on Windows 10 Mobile. For instance, as of now there is no interactive widget for Android. You also cannot set it as your default search engine when you hold the action key on the S6 Edge (you can do this for Bing, however).
It is quite plausible that in later versions, Microsoft will add widget and default app abilities. Even still, without passive listening in the form of 'Hey Cortana' on Windows Phone, Cortana on Android will still not be as immersive.
It is rather neat knowing Windows 10 PC users who also have an Android phone will get near the same experience on the go. After all, for Cortana to flourish the service needs data and by opening the assistant to Android and iOS, that is sure to happen.
For now, you can watch the hands-on video and see the beta app compared to the Windows 10 Mobile version. Let us know what you think in comments!
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.