Microsoft is plenty busy at the moment. The software giant is currently rolling out Windows 10 in what it bills as the biggest ever software upgrade cycle in history. With Windows 10 Mobile due to arrive in November, the rest of the year is full up for Redmond. However, that is not stopping the company from spreading its wings further onto other platforms, especially Android.
The latest major Microsoft release on the world’s leading mobile OS will be Cortana, the personal assistant that made its debut on Windows Phone 8.1. The service is currently running on Android, but only in beta form, Redmond has yet to reveal when Cortana’s full app release will be made. A new update surely brings that closer and version 22.214.171.124 brings with it an interesting new feature.
Android users can now make Cortana the primary default personal assistant on their device, replacing the platform’s own Google Now. At the moment, Android users can access Google Now by pressing and holding the home button (or indeed a simple Hello Google on stock Android devices), but with Cortana they will be able to use that home button functionality for Microsoft’s virtual assistant, although “Hello Cortana” will be met with silence unfortunately.
It is an interesting fact that Microsoft makes almost as much money from Google’s Android platform as it does its own Windows Phone, with the company making over $1 billion through 2014 on Android. That’s because Microsoft has started putting its own apps and services on Android devices, while Google also pays Redmond for several patents and licensing agreements. It seemed unthinkable just a few years ago that Microsoft would add to a rival platform in the way, but the rewards outweigh the negatives when it comes to Android.