Microsoft Improves Cortana on the Android Lock Screen

Posted on March 27, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Windows 10 with 14 Comments

Microsoft Improves Cortana on the Android Lock Screen

Earlier this month, Microsoft updated Cortana for Android so that it would work in a read-only mode above the lock screen. Now, you can interact with Cortana above the lock screen.

I recently highlighted Cortana as one of the key ways you can “Redmondize” your Android handset, noting that you could use it to replace Google Assistant and then access your preferred digital personal assistant by long-pressing on your device’s Home button too.

Now, Cortana is getting even more interesting on Android. In addition to letting you view your day’s schedule, which became available earlier in March, you can now interact with Cortana above the Android lock screen. That is, you can “quickly get answers to your questions, set a reminder and more without having to unlock your device.”

Other new features include:

  • Improved positioning above the lock screen
  • New view for a quick glance of your day
  • Buttons to create Reminders and Lists from Cortana home
  • Improved reminder experience and location triggering

As always, Cortana is only available in select markets, which I know is irritating to international users. But Microsoft also announced today that Cortana is now available on both Android and iOS in Australia for the first time. So it’s slowly edging out in the world like a good digital personal assistant should.

You can download Cortana for Android from the Google Play Store.


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Comments (14)

14 responses to “Microsoft Improves Cortana on the Android Lock Screen”

  1. CompSciGuy31415

    I gave Cortana a chance last week, but without the "what song is this" functionality, it's a non-starter. ?

  2. Bats

    LOL...more INSTABILITY for Paul's Pixel !!! 

    That means more reason to blame to Google, for Paul's technological mishaps.

    Let's get one thing clear here, Google Assistant is far superior to Cortana. It's not even close. You want proof? Go to Youtube and look at all the comparison tests. IMO, this is bad because Cortana is powered by Bing and the results just so poor.

    However, I understand how Microsoft super-fans like Mr Thurrott so badly want to have a Microsoftcentric ecosystem, where there whole lives utilized Microsoft technology. Isn't it obvious? That's not going to happen. 

    Cortana will never...ever...ever bump off The Google Assistant in the battle for Android resources. Google will never allow it. Therefore a total MSFT experience is not going to be possible. It will always be a "shared experience" with the Google Assistant. This means more resources used and more ridiculous complaining by Paul.

    • wolters

      "Let's get one thing clear here, Google Assistant is far superior to Cortana. It's not even close. "

      I can agree there but I tend to use Cortana because it lists my "reminders" on my desktop Calendar app and shows me alerts on my PC, so it is more integrated with my devices. Would love to see Assistant on the desktop,

    • Brian Devins

      In reply to Bats:

      I'm finding Google Assistant to be getting worse and worse every year. Less dependable and the UI gets less convenient. Meanwhile, Cortana is getting better every month. What I find really indispensable is Cortana email reminders that pop up unprompted.

  3. wright_is

    Still waiting for Cortana to be released on Android...

  4. JimP

    Can you say "Hey Cortana" yet?

  5. SpeedyPS

    It would be wonderful to have Cortana on an Android device here in New Zealand, but in typical Microsoft fashion, the Play Store reports "This item is not available in your country".

    BTW, she works fine on our PC's (now that we got over the bit about her needing to be localized), so why does she not work on our phones.

    If your product is not available worldwide, it is going to be hard to beat the opposition (who don't have this restriction). Are Microsoft not confident in Cortana in English speaking countries outside of US, UK and Australia.

  6. anchovylover

    Here's a thought, I wonder if we are being too hard on Cortana. Google and Apple have had years of successful mobile devices to make their assistants work so well. Cortana hasn't had the same and very little usage on mobile given the WM market share. Maybe we need to give Cortana some time. BTW, I'm aware Cortana works ok in America.

  7. scotttech1

    Any word on Canada? Have they forgotten us? I had to circumvent the country settings on Xbox to get her working.

  8. Gavin Groom

    Not seeing it on the Australian App Store.

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