We all know that Microsoft was late in the mobile game. However, the game we’re talking of here isn’t only about creating a mobile operating system but about extending to mobile search, mobile maps, mobile apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), mobile ads, etc. Mobile devices like smartphones are increasingly becoming the primary computing devices for billions worldwide while desktops and laptops are slowly becoming obsolete. Of course, they won’t completely disappear, but they’re becoming less dominant as compared to the recent past. Microsoft used to be the leader in the desktop and laptop segments, but when it comes to mobile computing they’re struggling to establish their presence in the market.
One of the market shifts and trends that came along with mobile computing is voice assistance; Google Now and Apple Siri are the most dominant and important players in this field. Voice assistance can help their users complete a variety of tasks in an easy and convenient way. These tasks may range from replying to a text message to creating a reminder for a shopping list. Voice assistance is widely adopted by teens and hence, it’s the future. The importance of voice assistance has even increased with the Internet of Things revolution and speaking to the things around us is the most easy and convenient way for users to interact with any device.
Cortana is Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Apple Siri, it’s available in the newly anticipated Windows 10, which means that it’ll be available for both, Desktop users, as well as mobile users. But is Cortana a worthy competitor to Google Now and Siri? Will it succeed in swaying the masses from using Google Now and Android as a whole to using Microsoft Windows 10 and Cortana?
Cortana Integration in Microsoft Edge
Let’s start with what Cortana can actually do right now in Windows 10. First, it’s integrated to Microsoft Edge the new web browser in Windows 10. However, that integration is limited to highlighting a phrase or a word that you can’t understand or need more information about. Ask Cortana invokes Bing to search that phrase or word. Of course, it is good but not effective enough to influence the masses for using Windows 10.
Cortana Voice Recognition
As we’ve stated, Cortana is a voice assistance tool. It relies heavily on voice recognition because without a proper recognition engine (natural language, detecting accents, etc.), it is useless. As a tester for Windows 10 technical preview, I’ve to admit that I wasn’t impressed by Cortana’s voice recognition. It rarely picks up what I say and this could be validated if you do a quick search on this issue on the Internet. On the other hand, Google Now recognizes what I say in more than 95 % of the time, which is quite impressive. I don’t think that Cortana’s voice recognition capabilities will convince any Android user to make a switch over to Windows phone.
Cortana and Windows 10 Integration
Cortana is also integrated to the operating system (Windows 10). Hence, it could be set as a reminder, search for an application or a file, locally or on OneDrive. You can ask Cortana to check your mail, tell you the latest news according to your personal preferences, set up meetings on the calendar and pinpoint their locations on the map. This is quite helpful and some of these features couldn’t be done using Google Now since it’s not integrated to a Desktop Operating System (excluding Chrome OS). These features might tempt some users to switch over to Windows 10 from Android. Nevertheless, it is difficult to ascertain as to how many users would welcome the change.
Cortana on Android and Final Thought
Cortana has already been released as a standalone application for Android, though it’s not tightly integrated with the OS and this hinders its capabilities. However, a Cortana release for Android is definitely going to inhibit moving from Android to Windows. All the same, I don’t think so as the shift from Android to Windows is based on many aspects from both, the hardware and software perspectives. Cortana is just a single piece in the puzzle, though it’s an important one in making a decision.