It’s not the prettiest implementation of a voice assistant, but the system (dubbed Portaña) gets the job done — in Italian. That’s the only language it speaks right now. Also, you need to be online for it to function. Portaña makes use of a hardware proxy to trick Microsoft’s back end servers into working with the ported interface. There are also some custom SSL certificates and DNS spoofing involved. See? A little messy, but impressive nonetheless.
The mod comes by way of a hacker group calling themselves OrangeSec. They demoed their creation at Droidcon 2015. There’s a remote possibility that there is some fakery going on, but everything looks legit in the above video — the slides are English, but the speech is Italian. Since the data is all coming from the same cloud platform used on Windows Phone, Portaña could be capable of all the same things eventually.
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. The company told VentureBeat the best way to experience Cortana is “as designed by Microsoft and available through Windows Phone and the Windows 10.” No argument there.