Microsoft’s Android-based answer to Apple’s Siri has been accidentally released into the wild earlier than planned.
Cortana for Android is a voice-driven personal assistant that was supposed to be released on July 29th along with the launch of the Windows 10 operating system.
However, an early version of the app appeared online over the weekend and has already been widely distributed.
Cortana was originally developed for Windows, but Microsoft announced plans for a version that would be compatible with Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s iOS earlier this year.
The leaked early version appears similar to the one already seen on Windows handsets.
Peter Bright of tech news site Ars Technica tested the app over the weekend. He reported that the software worked without crashing on a Nexus 5 handset running Android 5.1.
Mr Bright also said that Cortana provided weather and traffic alerts and information. Other features include appointment reminders and the ability to transcribe speech into emails and text messages.
On a Windows device, simply saying “Hey Cortana” is enough to start the application, which is constantly listening for a prompt. The Android and Apple versions have to specifically activated.
Mr Bright said the Android version of Cortana lacked some of the features that were found on the previously released Windows version, including some privacy functions that stop it from activating when users are busy or asleep.
Microsoft’s aim is for the application to work across different devices in order to offer a common user experience.
An official beta programme currently allows US users who have a Windows Insider account to try Cortana before its release next week.