Of all the major AI-powered smart assistants, Microsoft’s Cortana was singular in being the only one based on an existing character. It seems, however, that it’s fated to return and remain in its Halo universe as Microsoft slowly pushes it out of its other non-gaming incarnations. It really isn’t news that Cortana’s mobile presence will be ending this month but now the app for Android and iOS is reminding users to prepare for its demise.
This isn’t really shocking nor surprising. Despite its familiar character or perhaps because of it, Cortana failed to gain traction even with Windows PCs everywhere, the popularity of Xbox consoles, and availability on iOS and Android. Of course, ubiquity is just one part of the equation and an equally important part, one that Microsoft may have failed to achieve, is support for third-party products and ecosystems, especially those on the smart home market.
It’s all moot now, of course, as Microsoft already announced the withdrawal of Cortana from specific devices and platforms. It has given a March 31, 2021 deadline for Cortana on mobile, and users of the app for Android and iOS will now see the ominous warning.
The support page for that notice explains what will happen on that date. Starting March 31 this year, the mobile app will no longer be supported but, more importantly, reminders and lists will no longer be available there either. They will, however, live on in the Cortana app for Windows as well as synced data with Microsoft To Do.
This is just the latest development in Cortana’s slow and almost silent withdrawal from the smart assistant market. Earlier this month, Harman Kardon warned users that their Invoke speakers, the only Cortana smart speaker ever made, will simply become Bluetooth speakers soon. That said, Microsoft still has a home left for Cortana in its enterprise products but it remains to be seen how long that will last.