Microsoft has finally launched its digital assistant Cortana on Android (and soon iOS) in the UK. The release comes more than a year after a similar rollout in the US, and features a revamped design that includes full-page answers and weather information on the landing page. You can ask Cortana to send emails, make calls, open apps and more, without having to type a word, and you can get recommendations for nearby places to eat, shop and stay. The app also brings phone notifications to your PC, so you can see when you’ve missed a call or received a text. The app means mobile users in the UK will have another digital assistant to choose from. Like Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri, Cortana can be accessed hands-free using voice commands but the only phones it was built into were Windows Phones.
If you’re an avid Windows 10 user, this will be welcome news. Cortana is synced across devices? Including desktops, laptops, and the Xbox One – and the latest rollout looks to be a continuation of Microsoft’s general cross-platform Windows 10 strategy. The company also claims that the app is faster than its previous iteration. For non-Windows 10 users, however, Cortana has to compete against an increasingly crowded digital assistant market that not only includes Google and Apple’s offerings but also Amazon’s Alexa.
Considering that the first thing many new Windows 10 users do is turn Cortana off, we find it difficult to get too excited about the voice assistant coming to Android and iOS, especially because those platforms already have their own equivalents. However, if you hate typing and don’t feel foolish asking your phone to do things for you, then the app is certainly worth a look. For our part, we’ll be sticking with “OK Google”