Microsoft's assistant, a rival to Google Assistant and Siri, has always been quite behind in terms of feature set and skills, and is still, sort of, even though Microsoft is trying harder than ever to catch them up. With that said, they have released a new 220.127.116.1183 beta update for Cortana, which brings some nice features that we will go into in a more detailed fashion, but before doing so, let's start with the changelog.
- Sync tasks with Microsoft To-Do
- New Cortana on Home screen
Microsoft To-Do integration
The first new feature in the latest Cortana update is related to Microsoft To-Do, where all of your personals tasks will get synced in between, so you can manage them with voice commands if you choose to.
Cortana on home screen
This particular option enables a trigger for Cortana, where you can see a music control widget, including shortcuts like asking her to read your emails, play the news and more, plus a voice command button. If you are installing the app for the firsts time, then you will get a prompt to turn on 'Cortana on home screen' or else you can toggle it on from the settings by going into the Phone settings section. From there you can select between three types of icons/triggers as well as switch on an option that makes Cortana automatically go away when another app gets opened.
That is it for this Cortana release. Please, stay tuned for more update reports like this.
Note: The features that we mentioned above happen to be already available for the stable v18.104.22.1685 release on Google Play, though, the most up-to-date one is still the aforementioned beta.
Microsoft To-Do Beta: TestingCatalog
Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant on Android has always been very cluttered and not straightforward in regards to usability and functions. The newest iteration, which comes as an official upgrade to version 3.0 aims to change this and make the user experience leaps better. And it sort of does. It is indeed smarter too.
Design-wise they have switched to a fully white user interface all over the place and it looks very sleek. The navigation system throughout the app has been replaced with a bottom tab bar and a side panel on the right (Strange!). The Cortana button is now in the bottom center, exactly where it belongs. The first tab from left to right lands you to the Discover page, where an extra large number of things that Cortana can do are listed, from sending e-mails to playing music from streaming services such as Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. The far right tab is named Devices and acts as a hub for connecting external devices like speakers, thermostats and other IOT tech.
Cortana is getting closer to catching up with Google Assistant by earning a new ability - continuous conversations. You can ask her one thing earlier and request something else that is related to it.
Wow! She also sounds more like a human now.
Other things that you can ask her are to set reminders and timers, create meetings, join Skype calls, etcetera. Voice commands can be activated by touching the blue microphone icon in the Upcoming page, which by the way is the default one.
These are only bits and pieces of what is new in Cortana v3.0 for Android. Be sure to apply for its beta from our website and be the first to test freshly cooked features.