Microsoft has made a couple of important Cortana announcements today. The company says its personal assistant is now launching in Australia. Additionally, the Android Lock Screen support that has previously been discussed is now available officially.
In a Windows Blog post today, Microsoft discusses Cortana's expansion on iOS and Android. That now includes being available for customers on both platforms Down Under. With this release, the virtual assistant is now available in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
We first discussed the Android specific Lock Screen support back in January. Since then the feature has been in testing through the beta program on the platform. Today Lock Screen has been made generally available to all Android users.
It is worth noting that Microsoft actually made this feature available earlier in the month. The company is announcing it formally on the Windows Blog today.
Upon entering the app “Cortana on the lock screen”. Clicking the ‘Add' button will put the assistant on the very front end of the phone, where a logo will show at the bottom of the screen. Swiping the logo will open Cortana with full functionality, including notification updates and replies to search queries.
I mentioned at the time that there is one potential problem with this. Cortana is accessible by a single swipe and the assistant can access parts of a device that would otherwise be locked down. This means anybody could potentially access some part of a phone by swiping to Cortana.
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.
Cortana in Australia
Cortana is finally making the journey Down Under on iOS and Android. Additionally, the company is brining support to the Android home screen, which brings glanceable information such as a scheduled, commute times, and reminders.
For Australian users, the company points to the following features:
- Reminders that Travel with You: Cortana has your back, seamlessly keeping track of the things you need to remember across all the platforms you use her. Set a reminder on your PC and get it on your mobile phone.
- Never Miss a Phone Call: In a meeting and can't answer your phone? With the Cortana app, get a missed call alert on your Windows 10 PC and let Cortana send a text back letting them know you'll call them later – all without leaving your PC.
- Optimized for Mobile: Designed specifically for your mobile life with quick action buttons and voice to get what you need quickly, a streamlined design and widgets for Android and iOS.