Cortana, Windows 10’s virtual assistant, is now available for Android and iPhone.  Let’s take a look at how “she” works on Android.  I talked about how to download install in a previous article. Click here if you want to check that one out.

When you install Cortana, you’ll get the option of making a shortcut for the microphone, so that you can voice activate the program by saying, “Hey Cortana,” from your Android homescreen. If you plan to use voice activation, I’d suggest doing that.

Cortana-mic-shortcut

Here’s how you set up the app to respond to “Hey Cortana.” Tap the Cortana icon to open the app.

cortana-icon

When the app is open, tap the three-line menu icon at the top left.

cortana-menu

Then choose settings.

cortana-android-settings

Make sure you enable “Hey Cortana.” This is also where you can put a mic shortcut on your homescreen and have Cortana notify you on your PC if you miss a phone call.

cortana-android-activate-hey

Once you enable, “Hey Cortana” on your phone, let’s look at some things you can do. If you already have Cortana set up on your Windows 10 PC, you’ll notice that she already remembers where you are and your interests.

You can ask her a question, like “What’s the temperature?”

cortana-what-is-temp

And she’ll give you the local answer.

cortana-weather

You can say, “Hey Cortana, make an appointment” and dictate the date, time and event to add it to your calendar.

add-to-calendar

If you set up an appointment using Cortana on your PC, you’ll also get a reminder on your phone.

cortana-calendar-hone

lunch-reminder-cortana

I can also ask Cortana to make a call or search the web.

cortana-call

Although, initially it was said that Cortana wouldn’t be able to open apps, I was able to have Cortana open Android’s E-mail and camera apps, Facebook, and the Microsoft Word App just by saying open. I couldn’t get her to open other apps like the Words With Friends game.

open-facebook-cortana

I could tell Cortana to send an e-mail and a new message opens. I could even tell Cortana to send an e-mail to a specific contact and it would open a new message to that person. But to dictate the contents, I needed to tap the microphone on the keyboard and dictate using Google.

I also found that while Cortana worked great when I was connected to WiFi, when I’m using a 4G connection, she barely functions.

This could be due to the age of my phone. I’m using a Galaxy S4 running Lollipop.  Overall, though she works pretty well. Though not as fully functional as she is on my PC.

She will still however tell jokes on command and play the movie game.

Have you tried Cortana on your phone yet? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

~ Cynthia