Microsoft updated the Android version of its artificial intelligence (AI) assistant Cortana with a redesigned Settings screen and a number of extra features earlier this week. The Redmond, Washington-based tech giant started rolling out the latest stable build of Cortana on Friday and the update should soon be available for download from the Google Play Store in all parts of the world, if it isn’t already. Microsoft is referring to the version 2.9.0 as “a major evolution” of its digital assistant that’s now meant to be more versatile and accessible than ever.
The new Settings section introduced by the update is a significantly streamlined variant of its predecessor and was apparently designed to facilitate navigation. Users are now also provided with what Microsoft calls “hands-on” controls for reminders, allowing you to quickly access your existing reminders to change their contents, time and date, or delete them entirely. Those who prefer to manage their reminders using voice controls are still able to do so, especially if they take the time to extensively speak to Cortana so that the AI assistant can learn to process their voices and speech patterns more efficiently. Microsoft has been putting a large focus on reminders with the latest update for its digital assistant; apart from all of the aforementioned additions, reminders can now also be pinned to the top-right corner of the user interface and serve as visual cues for users. Finally, the latest iteration of Cortana for Android ships with support for hands-free calling and texting, a feature that many of its competitors already had for a while.
In addition to being a major component of the Windows 10 operating system, Cortana was initially envisioned as one of the main selling points of the Windows Phone ecosystem, but as Microsoft’s mobile ambitions failed to amount to any significant success over the years, the tech giant ultimately refocused its AI efforts on desktop computers and Android. As of last month, owners of compatible Android devices are able to set Cortana as their default digital assistant, and Microsoft repeatedly promised that the mobile version of its AI companion will be updated with a broad range of new functionalities in the near future.