April 19, 2015 weblog
OrangeSec pair said Cortana visited Android
Can, did, Cortana work on Android? A talked-about act at droidcon 2015: a presentation titled "Cracking Cortana." The OrangeSec team arrived at the Turin, Italy, event to show their work in a CortanaProxy server for intercepting Cortana requests (Windows Phone 8.1). TechWorm on Saturday reported that the Italy-based hacker team said to have brought Microsoft's Cortana to Android. That's rather spectacular because Microsoft has not yet brought Cortana to Android. Microsoft is expected to do so some time later on.
While there is no official date over Cortana coming to Android, expectations generally run like this rundown in TechWorm: "Cortana is expected to be released to the desktops and tablets with the Windows 10. Later it will be also made available to the Android and iOS desktops and if the digital assistant gets the required popularity with the Android and iOS it might get entry to their smartphones as well."
Maya Kamath in TechWorm said the team "soft of" broke into Cortana, which is Microsoft's answer to Google Now and Apple Siri. They were able to crack the back end of Microsoft's Cortana and "sort of" succeed in bringing it to Android. This assistant is called "Portana." Now for specifics on Portana: It can only speak Italian. It does not work offline. It is not an independent digital assistant for Android, said TechWorm; it has been connected to the servers of Microsoft. Ryan Whitwam of Geek.com explained how "Portana makes use of a hardware proxy to trick Microsoft's back end servers into working with the ported interface," but it is difficult, said Kamath, for Portana, which is Microsoft based, to blend and accommodate into the Android's technology.
Emil Protalinski in VentureBeat on Friday took the point further: "Portana is apparently communicating with Microsoft's servers, and it's not a strict port: the hackers have not recreated all the digital assistant's features. Portana naturally can't interface and integrate with Android and its various features like Cortana does with Windows Phone."
Generally, tech sites took the droidcon feat by OrangeSec as interesting but not menacing. Ryan Whitwam of Geek.com said, "OrangeSec is mostly showing what can be done as a proof of concept. Microsoft is expected to expand Cortana to other platforms later, and it would probably be easy to block unofficial implementations like this." What does Microsoft think? VentureBeat reported the words of a spokesperson:
"Cortana was first available for our Windows Phone customers in Spring of 2014, and we announced on January 21 that Cortana will come to PC and tablets later this year with the release of Windows 10. We believe the best way to enjoy the full Cortana experience is as designed by Microsoft and available through Windows Phone and the Windows 10 technical preview."
The presentation suggests techies may be anticipating good things about Cortana's capabilities as digital assistant and are eager to see its eventual arrival on other platforms. Said Protalinski in VentureBeat: "The group could try to expand Portana's feature set, but this looks more like a creation by fans eagerly awaiting an official release. They want to show what's possible with a little work, not create a competitor."
Droidcon is a global developer conference series. The idea behind the droidcon conferences is to support the Android platform and create a global network for developers and companies.
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