Microsoft's Cortana beta application for Android is getting a fresh bump today. The latest update brings the app up to version 2.9.7. and comes with a couple of new additions. However, there are no new features here.
According to the Cortana for Android beta changelog, a new reminder widget has been added. However, users who have downloaded the update say little has changed with the widget. Also included in version 2.9.7. is an improvement for the default assistant function.
Last month, Microsoft basically killed off Windows 10 Mobile. Without explicitly axing the platform, the company said it will not release new hardware and the platform is not a focus. At least for the time being, Microsoft will continue to support Windows phone, but for how long is a mystery.
With Windows 10 Mobile on the wane, Microsoft needs to push its apps more aggressively on iOS and Android. The company has clearly said its services on rival platforms is the level of its mobile ambitions now.
However, in terms of Cortana, Microsoft faces a tough sell on other platforms. Apple has Siri and Google has its own virtual assistant. In other words, out of the box there is no reason for users to install another assistant.
The raw numbers reflect that. Cortana for Android has been installed by less than 5 million users, while not all of them will be active users. That may look like a high number, but really is not.
Of course, Microsoft has Cortana on its vast Windows 10 install base, but it is hard to see how the company will be able to expand the assistant on mobile.
This week, Cortana was giving another avenue to grow when the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker was launched this week. The device is Cortana powered and is Microsoft first foray into the market.
Although this is a very niche market at the moment, so Cortana user growth is not likely to be spurred by the Invoke.