Cortana made her way onto Android devices back in 2015 but hasn’t managed to gain the same popularity as its competitors. This isn’t entirely surprising, considering Microsoft’s digital helper hasn’t been available on smart speakers and displays, leaving people to use alternative solutions. The company seems to acknowledge Cortana can’t keep up with its rivals, at least on mobile devices, as it just announced the Android and iOS apps will be retired at the end of January.
On its support page, Microsoft announced it will end support for the Cortana mobile apps on January 31st, 2020. The company will also release an updated version of its launcher, in which the digital helper will be removed. This means you won’t be able to ask Cortana about your reminders and lists on your mobile device after that date, but you’ll still have access to them through Cortana on Windows. Similarly, existing reminders, lists, and tasks are automatically synced to the To Do app, meaning you won’t lose your content and will still be able to retrieve it using your phone.
Microsoft says it will instead integrate Cortana into its Office 365 apps, making it a productivity-focused assistant instead. It’s already started the implementation earlier this month, as its digital helper can now read your emails on Outlook mobile. Unfortunately, it hasn’t specified whether the assistant will function the same way from within these apps, or if it will only support a limited number of features.
According to Engadget, the shutdown is limited to these countries: Australia, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Germany, Spain, and the UK. It’s not clear why users in the US and most countries will still have access to the digital assistant on their devices while those in the eight above won’t.