Apple’s phones and tablets have Siri. Google Android has “OK Google.” And Windows Phone has Cortana. But the lines might get blurry soon.
Reuters reports that Microsoft plans to launch Cortana apps for Android and iOS.
Cortana is Microsoft’s voice assistant software which lets you search the web, set reminders, initiate phone calls, and much more. While the service was first introduced for Windows Phone, it will also be available to desktop and tablet users when Microsoft releases Windows 10.
It’s not clear if you’ll be able to use all of Cortana’s features on an iPhone or Android device, since Microsoft’s personal assistant won’t be built into the operating system and will instead run as an app… which means it won’t have full system access and will have the same limitations you’d expect from any third-party app.
According to Reuters, Microsoft is also working on an artificial intelligence project called “Einstein” which is designed to make Cortana more powerful. Among other things, it’ll be able to “read and understand email” and other items in order to provide you information you might need before you even ask for it. For example it could remind you when it’s time to leave or the airport based on an email confirmation for a flight reservation.
Google Now already does something similar for Android users, while Apple’s Siri is designed mostly to respond to requests rather than attempting to anticipate your needs.