Monday, July 20, 2015

Impressions from the Microsoft Cortana on Android smartphone | – first – – Mobile-review

Recently, the network leaked the closed beta version of Cortana for Android. Let me remind you that it is a voice assistant from the company Microsoft, which could become a major competitor to Siri and Google Now. Let’s see what Cortana is at the moment …



When the company acts as a catch-up, focusing on the existing competing solutions, it is always a temptation to take the best of both worlds and try to dazzle this for a single unit. At first glance, it’s a win-win option that will appeal to all. In practice, such an attempt to sit on two chairs rarely end with something good in the end, the company turns out neither one nor the other, and no particular impression does not produce such a product. The same river can not enter twice, and that seemed fresh and original a few years ago, today it does not make any special impression. To attract the attention of users, not only to repeat someone else’s idea five years ago, you need to come up with something of their own. Something bright and interesting, why have not had time to get used to.

The same Google Now is uniquely designed with an eye to Siri, it was clear that once the voice assistant appeared in iOS, it had to appear in Android. However, the principle of operation of this assistant was quite different. Where the Apple bet on human interaction with the soulless piece of iron in Google tried to teach his program to anticipate the user’s actions and to give him the necessary information before it will announce the issue.

In Microsoft did in a similar situation New did not invent, but simply put together two ideas into one. On the one hand, Cortana will follow the interests of users and remind you of things, on the other – try to behave like a living companion, not a primitive computer program.


Download leaked apk file to the network can be from several different resources, such as online 4pda. Here are just at the beginning you need to think very carefully about whether to do it.

First, it is an unofficial beta, which can contain a huge number of vulnerabilities. Second, the file you’re downloading is not the official website, and from other sources. How it got there and who it before it could “dig” you and I do not know. A permission for the program needs a lot.

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Another thing – for the program you will need to enter an account with Microsoft. I do not think that the MS decide to fight “illegal testers”, but who knows.

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Cortana-40  > Cortana-39

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At the moment, the application works only in English.


Once again I remind you that this is a beta version , not even official. Doing it at any definitive conclusions can not, may well be that it is available for only a small part of the planned functionality. Another thing is that to believe in it with difficulty, and if technical flaws to release certain corrected, here the number of functions at the time of exit is unlikely to change much.

On the main screen displays the card information is clearly inherited her inherited from the Google Now. In contrast to the service Google, each card is almost always takes all the available space on the screen, because this can only view them one by one. Are there many of them are confused, it is not clear, initially it’s just a selection of news Yes forecast. Perhaps, over time, their contents will somehow adapt to the interests of users, but Google Now (which, by the way, and so the stars from the sky is not enough) Cortana will clearly be far away. Especially if you do not use services such as Microsoft Bing search, and others. In the current beta of the card-like tips and did not impress enough to say that Cortana persistently showed me the news the United States, although well aware that I am in Russia (both in location on the map and the information from your account MS).

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In the menu you can specify a list of their interests and to customize the behavior of the program. For example, to select what news you want to display, configure notifications about upcoming events, add the notification of nearby restaurants of a particular price range, and so on.

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Cortana-04  > Cortana-03

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Voice dialing until you can run, just by clicking on the corresponding button in the corner of the screen, like no voice activation «Hi, Cortana!» is not available. But with speech recognition all excellent – my clumsy pronunciation program understands without any problems, which is already a lot. This, of course, talking about the English language, Russian is not in beta. If you pronounce the command aloud at the moment for some reason inconvenient, they can be entered from the keyboard, tapnuv on the text box at the bottom of the screen. Interestingly, in this case, Cortana realized that it is necessary to be quiet, and to pronounce the answer will not be loud.

 Cortana-11   Cortana-16

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The assistant realizes a standard set of commands – Call a friend, send SMS, create a note, add a reminder. Teams better be so that all information can fit in the same sentence. For example, “Remind me to buy milk tomorrow.” In theory, you can do it in several stages, for example, first say “Add Reminder”, and then to fill in the field “what”, “where” and “when.” That’s only in this case, the data have been entered by hand, voice control does not work here. Validate data entered voice is also impossible (for me, anyway, did not work), it is necessary to tap on the button. I would like to believe that in the final version of all this will be implemented in some other way, otherwise the sense of such a voice control will not be very much.

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In the beta, many teams do not work, the integration with Android applications yet. Basically, it is to be expected – on it and the beta, but still unofficial. Although sometimes it stumbles on Cortana very simple things, which itself offers a try. For example, refuses to communicate the list of available commands.

Cortana -13  Cortana-12

 Cortana-25  Cortana-14

The Microsoft does not accidentally called their program the name of the heroine of a computer game, gave a pleasant female voice, and even the beginnings of biography. The company is clearly trying to beat (or at least repeat) the success of Siri, making its program more humane as possible. Including taught her to answer a bunch of irrelevant questions.

Help from Wikipedia

Cortana Cortana (Eng. Cortana) – a fictional artificial intelligence, character game series Halo. It voiced by Jen Taylor. For the first time Cortana appears in Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2 sequels, Halo 3 and Halo 4. During gameplay, Cortana provides a description and tactical information for the player who plays the role of John-117.

https: / /

However, before she Siri currently far. So far, Cortana can not recognize even the most basic conversational phrases like “I’m hungry,” “I want to sleep” or “Find the nearest museum”, issued in response to a search query results in Bing. On the more complex things not worth mentioning, a direct comparison with Siri there is clearly not in favor of solutions MS. Feature Does this beta for Android, or the service itself, will not undertake to judge.

What Cortana really good at, so it is to praise products Microsoft. Answers to questions from the series “Which is better, Xbox or Play Station?» Fly away from her teeth. Until then, as he spoke to her about the devices, games and services Microsoft, even the illusion of a more or less meaningful dialogue. But it is necessary to make at least one step in the direction of – and, hello, Bing. Perhaps the main exception here is Siri, the topic is not Cortana against pozuboskalit.

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 Cortana-04_add >  Cortana-02_add

 Cortana-15_add Cortana- 14_add

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Cortana-16_add  Cortana-01_add

Sometimes, there is a suspicion that this virtual training over the individual works well, but a very elderly programmers are slightly lagging behind what is happening in the world and what topics are more relevant now. She can answer the question of what is better, Windows or Linux (five to seven years ago, it was really hot dispute), but can not compare the Windows and Mac or Windows and Android. It can react to the Siri, but did not even smile at the phrase “Ok, Google». If Siri could talk all sorts of nonsense and watch what happens, then Cortana must always think about what questions fall within the scope of its interests.

First Impressions

Microsoft It is clearly understood that the release Cortana on WP (Windows Mobile) and Android – is fundamentally different things. In the first case Cortana acts as the one and only voice assistant, initially integrated into the OS. In the second case, it faces stiff competition. Users will have to make sure to get to know the weather, or create a voice note, it is required to replace the Google Now for Cortana. Which so far that even a voice command can not run, that does not understand a bunch of familiar Google Now the language used is not particularly popular Bing and very poorly integrated with Android. Given that all these assistants is generally not so much needed, change the flea will be ready unit. To do this, users must have some real incentive, and in applications – a very solid advantage, but nothing like this is not even on the horizon. Neither solution MS, neither voice assistants from other companies, which lack the Google Play. The point here is not even the fact that Google Now so good, just his competitors (available on Android) look even paler.

The only plus Cortana – its presence in the desktop version of Windows, which is used by most people. Perhaps in theory it is possible to come up with such usage scenarios in which a single voice assistant on the PC and the smartphone will give some advantages. To me, they, however, in the head do not come hard. Especially considering the fact that the PC such applications need much less than on the phone. On your mobile device truly is sometimes easier to ask the voice, you enter with the on-screen keyboard, especially when your hands are busy. On the PC is much easier to stick to the browser icon and drive a second request from the keyboard, rather than trying to dictate all of this into a microphone. In addition, the same Google Now for PC too long ago is, only I doubt very much that someone enjoys it there.

If the voice of the assistant you need some real benefit, the change to Google Now Cortana now clearly does not make sense, at least on the Android smartphone.


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