Microsoft today launched a public beta of Cortana on Google Play, bringing its virtual assistant to the Android mobile platform. However, if you are outside the United States you will not be able to see Cortana as Microsoft is only launching the app in its home nation for the time being. We are sure that the virtual assistant will move to other markets in due course.
September and IFA comes around too soon for Microsoft and its upcoming Windows 10 Mobile platform. The company may still have a presence at the event, but do not expect any major announcements on its software or any upcoming smartphones. However, October is much more likely and reports today suggest that Microsoft will hold an event in October to detail Windows 10 Mobile and to showcase some new Lumia smartphones.
Microsoft is currently busy with its Windows 10 roll out, with Windows 10 Mobile due this fall also set to occupy the software giant. However, Redmond makes more than $1 billion per year from Android apps and is focusing even more on launching software across platform. Enter Cortana, Microsoft's personal assistant that has been available on Android in beta form recently.
Microsoft may have Windows 10 rolling out and Windows 10 Mobile and brand new hardware to look forward to this fall, but the company is still continuing its new expansions. Of course, that means launching software on other platforms (primarily Android) as Redmond attempts to take an even bigger chunk of Google?s pie. The latest app to land on the rival OS is Microsoft Translator.
Windows 10 Mobile is still a few months from launching, with November the month mooted for its release, but already Microsoft has confirmed which of its Lumia smartphones will be in line to receive an update to the new platform. However, the company did not make it clear if the 10 devices listed below will be the only ones to ever get Windows 10 Mobile, or whether other current Lumia's will just have to wait a bit longer.
Windows 10 is set to land on PC's over the coming days and weeks, but we already know that Microsoft's new platform is not going to land on mobile devices for some time. A third quarter date for Windows 10 Mobile's launch has been oft mooted, but now a Microsoft official has said that we could have to wait until the fourth quarter, November to be exact.
I have been saying on these pages for some time that Microsoft's lack of flagship devices on the Windows Phone platform is hurting the company. There are an array of very good (some of the best in fact) budget smartphones on the platform, but in terms of high end handsets there is scant choice. Even the Lumia 930, Lumia 1520, and HTC One M8 are aging and not current flagships, and the lack of high end quality has now been acknowledged by Microsoft's CEO.
Microsoft is going to launch its first Lumia flagship smartphone later this year alongside Windows 10 Mobile, the Lumia 940 (possibly 950). However, the company is not abandoning its budget aspirations, after-all humble handsets are the most successful on the Windows platform. As well as the blockbuster Lumia 940, Microsoft will also roll out a very basic smartphone that will cost $80 or less.
It is hard to class Microsoft's Surface Pro line as true tablet products because they are essentially PC's instead, but either way they are fantastic. The trouble is Microsoft cannot sell many of them, which is a shock considering how good the Pro is; it seems the price tag is just a touch inhibiting for the casual consumer. That said, Redmond is committed to the series and will prove it again when it launches the Surface Pro 4 in October.
Microsoft has confirmed that it will have a strong presence at the IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany in September. However, the company's press release confirming new products for launch at the event did not specifically mention smartphones. Some outlets are speculating that Microsoft will show off its smartphone even if the company did not name them in the announcement for IFA. However, my source in Microsoft says the company will not announce a new smartphone in Germany, but we will not have to wait long.