After yearning for at least the single decent Siri equivalent for several years, Android users are all of a sudden treated to a deluge of similarly comprehensive and helpful digital assistant options.
There’s Google Assistant, of course, available on more and more devices from more and more manufacturers, Amazon’s Alexa (although only for Huawei Mate 9 owners at the moment), Samsung’s Bixby is also coming (first to the Galaxy S8), and last but not least, Microsoft’s Cortana.
You’re free to install the latter on Androids running OS version 4.4 and up as you would any other app from the Play Store, and even better, lock screen support has officially moved out of private and public testing.
Bringing “Cortana at your fingertips”, the latest app update makes it possible to get Redmond’s voice assistant on your lock screen “so you could quickly swipe and see what Cortana’s got for you for the day.” But you can also interact with Cortana above the lock starting today on Android devices, so you “quickly get answers to your questions, set a reminder and more” without actually unlocking your phone.
Basically, this is as “native” an experience as the third-party assistant could ever offer, unlike what Alexa is capable of on iPhones and iPads for instance, with Google Assistant in real danger of being replaced. Especially with a number of subtle new improvements to Cortana’s Android interface, reminders and lists, plus availability in Australia for both the Android and iOS apps.