Cyanogen, the company that's grown out of the most popular third-party ROM for Android phones and tablets, is now a partner of Microsoft. CEO Kirt McMaster (who you might remember from some rather colorful statements earlier this year) says that the first fruit of that union will be the integration of Cortana with future versions of the modified Android ROM.

McMaster said so in an interview with International Business Times:

McMaster revealed that Cyanogen is working with Microsoft to deeply integrate Cortana into the next version of Cyanogen OS. This is key to catapulting Cyanogen into the mass market, he asserts: Cortana is currently available as an app on Android, but in order for it to make a real difference, it needs to be able to be integrated at the OS level so that its full potential can be leveraged.

Cortana, named after an AI character in Microsoft's Halo series of shooters, debuted on Windows Phone hardware before graduating to a headline feature in the desktop version of Windows 10. It performs much of the same functions as Google Now, with voice searches and commands plus quick access to personalized results for weather, news, sports, and other dynamic web content. Cortana is available as an Android app, but without the deep integration at the OS level which Google Now enjoys, its utility is more limited.

2015-09-12 16.38.57

This is a win-win for both parties, assuming that Cyanogen can get Microsoft's software working at a deep level. Microsoft gets legitimacy for Cortana as a platform-independent tool that's pre-installed on several phones in international markets, and Cyanogen gets another large chunk of Android's functionality from a non-Google source. (That's assuming that Microsoft isn't giving any financial incentives to Cyanogen for promoting Cortana.)

Presumably it will be several months before we see this partnership come to fruition. Cortana is still in beta on Android - you can download the APK directly from APK Mirror.