Cortana Android
Cortana for Android Image credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is starting to bolster the features of Cortana on Android. The company wants the virtual assistant to become an alternative to Google Now on the platform. Making Cortana accessible is important, so users will be pleased by a new feature. Microsoft will make it easier to access the service from the Android lock screen.

The company is testing an ability to access Cortana by just a single swipe on the lock screen. At the moment, the feature is available in the beta program for Cortana on Google’s OS. As is usually the case, we expect it will roll out to all users in the coming weeks.

After the update is installed, the app now asks if you want to allow “Cortana on the lock screen”. Clicking the ‘Add’ button will put her on the very front end of the phone, where a logo will show at the bottom of the screen. A swipe on this logo will open Cortana and she is fully functional with notification updates and replies to search queries.

There is a negative, however. Because Cortana is accessible via a swipe and without unlocking the handset, anybody could really access parts of your device through the assistant. We are interested to see how Microsoft will overcome this problem, if at all.

Microsoft has made the feature compatible with the standard lock screen on Android, or any other for that matter. Obviously, the ability will also be very present in the company’s own Next Lock Screen.

New Look for Cortana

At the end of December, Microsoft introduced an overhaul for Cortana on iOS and Android. Leading the new features was the ability to customize the theme of the application with four different colors.

It is possible to customize the look of the app by tapping the  logo on the homepage. From the customization page, users have 4 UI color choices: purple, black, green, and that Windows-like blue.