Microsoft rolls out Cortana public beta for U.S. android users

Tech giant Microsoft has reportedly rolled out the public beta of its digital voice assistant Cortana for devices running Google’s Android mobile operating system.

Microsoft has earlier announced in May that it was working on the android version as well as another for Apple devices.

The software giant’s personal digital assistant service Cortana competes with Apple’s Siri, and Google’s Google Now. Users can use ‘Cortana’ to set reminders, search the web, track flight information, check for weather and traffic updates and manage tasks, all through voice commands.

The Cortana app on Android has similar features as its Windows 10 and Windows Phone version counterparts, but it doesn’t include ‘Hey Cortana’ support, due to hardware limitations that prevent the digital assistant from always listening for the command.

The launch comes as part of Microsoft’s strategy to expand its mobile presence despite a weak showing for its Windows Phone devices.

The Cortana app for Android is currently available only in the United States via Google Play Store. However, Redmond plans to bring the personal digital voice assistant to other regions for other Android users in the future but no word on when exactly.

Android U.S. users interested in trying out Cortana can first join the beta program and then download the app from Google Play.