Microsoft is ending support for Cortana on mobile devices and on the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker, as the digital assistant continues to be primed for Microsoft 365.
Microsoft said that it will end support for third-party Cortana skills on September 7, which will be followed by the shutdown of the digital assistant’s iOS and Android apps in early 2021. Mobile device owners are advised to utilize Cortana’s integration in Windows 10, Outlook mobile, and soon in the Teams mobile app.
The Cortana mobile app has been installed about 6.5 million times globally since launch, with 59% on Android and 41% on iOS, according to Sensor Tower. However, from a peak of 750,000 total installs in the fourth quarter of 2016, the figure was down to only 46,000 installs in the second quarter of 2020.
The Harman Kardon Invoke speaker will also be losing Cortana integration after a firmware update set to roll out in January 2021. A Bluetooth-enabled device transition plan with Harman Kardon is in the works, and owners are being offered a $50 Microsoft Store Online gift card as consolation as the change will effectively downgrade the Invoke from a smart device into a Bluetooth speaker.
Also affected is the first version of the Surface Headphones, owners of which are entitled to a $25 gift card as the audio accessory will lose Cortana next year. The two versions of the Surface Headphones and the Surface Earbuds, however, will still be able to utilize the digital assistant through Outlook mobile.
The planned changes to Cortana will be made “to adjust our focus areas of innovation and development to give our customers assistance where they need it most,” according to Microsoft, with the affected features and functionalities selected due to their low usage.
“As we work to focus Cortana on where we believe the assistant will be most helpful for modern work, Microsoft is making changes to certain pre-existing Cortana capabilities and integrations that were more consumer centric, and instead doubling down on areas where we think Cortana can really make an impact when it comes to user productivity,” a spokesperson for Microsoft told Digital Trends.
Updated July 31, 2020: Added information on Cortana mobile app install figures from Sensor Tower.
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