EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS – CORTANA
It's a battle of the smart assistants as Cortana comes to Android phones
Android smartphone users will be able to benefit from even more Cortana features after a new upate from Microsoft.
The smart assistant, which is already a major part of Windows 10, will now be accessible with just one swipe, making it simpler to access than ever.
This also means that Android users will be able to launch Cortana even when their phone is locked for the first time.
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The news was uncovered by MSPowerUser, which notes that the new feature is already being tested in Microsoft’s beta program for Cortana on Android, meaning a public release can’t be far off.
If you want to try it out now, you can sign up through the Play Store. From there, just enable Cortana on lock screen, then click on, “Add Cortana to my lock screen”.
This will cause a Cortana logo to appear whenever you lock your device – swiping left or right on this will then open up the service.
The new feature looks to be Microsoft’s latest attempt to take on Google’s own native services, which can be launched in a similar way.
Cortana now just takes a single swipe to open on your Android phone
Cortana only became available for UK Android devices last month, after Microsoft finally brought the service to British users – although iOS devices are still waiting.
The app has received a major redesign for its British arrival, including quick actions displayed directly on the landing page, and is available to download today via the Google Play store.
But Cortana also now boasts a number of new features that should make it more useful than ever.
For the first time, Cortana will be able to turn off your computer, meaning you can shut down your PC when away from your desk with a quick voice command.
The service is now also able to restart, lock, and put your PC to sleep, as well as change the system volume.
The update is the latest improvement Microsoft has brought to Cortana as the service becomes a central point for some of its upcoming releases.
Microsoft recently confirmed it plans to take on the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home with its own smart home hardware.
The company is rumoured to be designing new Home Hub software features which could transform your Windows 10 computer into a smart, voice-guided speaker – all powered by Cortana.
Cortana arrived on Android devices in the UK late last year
Microsoft has already partnered with Intel to enable device makers to build hardware that incorporates Cortana with the ability to support far-field speech commands and wake-on voice functionality.
Home Hub friendly machines would be able to recognise voice commands from a much greater distance than most standard laptops or desktop computers.
According to sources speaking with Windows Central, the Home Hub system could also integrate light and motion sensors to ensure the PC wakes up whenever someone enters the room.