We will only find Siri on iOS, and Google Now on Android. Microsoft, however, plans for Cortana to appear on all major mobile platforms. Windows 10 has a few days left to launch, but a leaked APK file allows us to install Cortana on Android, right now.
Download and Install Cortana on Android
Since this version of Cortana is leaked, we won't find it on the Google Play store. As such, we must enable the "Unknown sources" option, to install Cortana on Android.
We just go to Settings -> Security...
...scroll down to "Device administration" and check the "Unknown sources" checkbox.
Download the leaked file
For easier access, we have uploaded it on our Google Drive too, and created a shortened link, for those of you who want to type it into your phone/tablet: http://pcste.ps/cortana-android.
Given the choice, we should select "Drive" to complete the action.
Install Cortana on Android
For the installation, we select "Package installer".
As a digital assistant, Cortana need pretty much full access to our personal information.
Set up Cortana
Even though there is a "No thanks" button, it won't skip on any boring stuff, so we must select "Next".
We agree for a second time to give Cortana full access to everything, because once wasn't enough, probably.
We also get a disclaimer that Cortana is in development, so not all features are finished.
We select a name by which we want Cortana to call us.
To use Cortana, we must have a Microsoft account, and log in with that.
And, that's it. We have installed Cortana on Android.
I don't know about you, but personally I have still not gotten used to talking to a machine without feeling like an idiot.
In any case, we need to click the microphone icon to speak to Cortana. "Hey Cortana" didn't work to initiate a hands-free communication, like "OK Google" does for Google Now. It might be implemented on the final version, but then again it could be an Android restriction. Time will tell.
After clicking on the microphone, we can ask Cortana simple questions, like her name...
...and how is she.
Trying the "Surprise me" that the system suggests, since it was "Emoji Day" when we wrote this article, will show a classic fairy tale with Emoji. I won't spoil which fairy tale it is, for anyone that can't recognize it (all three of you).
Apart from fooling around, we can ask Cortana to set up an alarm...
...set up reminders...
...and make web searches.
Even though English is my second language, and my pronunciation is pretty much as bad as it gets, Cortana didn't have much trouble understanding me, provided I spoke at a normal speed and clearly.
There was, though, at least one hilarious mishearing.
(Pizzasteps.com is available, btw)
There are more things that we can ask Cortana: make phone calls, text somebody, make a note.
There were a couple of times Cortana didn't get me at all, but I mostly blame myself for that.
I also got a "I can't seem to connect right now" message once or twice. This was Cortana's fault. It could be a beta version bug.
Is it worth it to install Cortana on Android?
Cortana's promise is that it will be a single digital assistant for all of our devices, from our cellphone and tablet to our Windows 10 laptop or desktop PC. When Windows 10 officially launches, as well as the Android and iOS version of Cortana, we will definitely put the features to the test.
For the time being, Cortana is a fun addition to Android. For those of us who don't think speaking to machines is firmly rooted inside the uncanny valley.