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[Update: Out of beta] Cortana v3.0 has a sleek new design and improved conversational experiences

Cortana's been on version 2 for quite a while, so users are no doubt excited to see what the next big iteration has in store. Thankfully, they don't have to wait any longer. The app's latest beta reveals version 3.0, which comes along with a major UI refresh and several feature additions, including improved conversational requests.

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You may soon be able to control your Xbox One with Alexa and Google Assistant

Xbox One users, here's a piece news for you on Android Police, of all places. According to Windows Central, you may soon be able to control your gaming/entertainment console with voice commands, thanks to the addition of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support.

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Cortana can now make calls and send texts via voice input [APK Download]

Most voice assistants can make calls and send texts without the user having to touch his/her screen, but that wasn't true for Cortana on Android until now. The latest update adds this capability, and even though it's nothing groundbreaking, it's sure to make your life just a little bit more convenient if you use Cortana regularly.

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Cortana adds floating launch button in latest update [APK Download]

Even though Cortana can't match most of Google Assistant's functionality, it's still very handy if you have a Windows 10 PC. The app can mirror notifications to your PC, sync reminders, and provide contextual information based on your email and calendar. About a year ago, the Cortana app added an optional launcher to the lock screen, and now there's another way to open the assistant.

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IFTTT has added a Cortana channel, plus a couple of other services

Over the past week, IFTTT has added 3 new channels to its hundreds of supported services for smart integrations and automations. Two of them are little known: SURY Assistant and ELA Smart Lighting, but the third one is quite important: Cortana.

Like the Google Assistant and Alexa channels, the new Cortana one has dozens of applets you can instantly try, as well as 4 triggers available: say a specific phrase, say a phrase with number, say a phrase with text, say a phrase with number and text. There are no actions available, so you can't make your Wemo slow cooker for example notify you through Cortana when it's done cooking.

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Microsoft Launcher Beta gets Cortana integration in version 4.6 [APK Download]

Since the demise of its own Windows Phone platform, Microsoft has been putting a lot of effort into creating a compelling suite of Android apps instead. Microsoft Launcher started life as the experimental Arrow Launcher but morphed into its current form late last year. It features a control center panel unlike any other Android home app and is unsurprisingly linked with Bing rather than Google for search.

A new beta update has just been released which integrates Microsoft's digital assistant, Cortana. It seems to work much as it does in the Cortana app (which doesn't need to be installed), but as an overlay on top of the launcher.

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Weekend poll: Do you use a voice assistant like Bixby, Alexa, or Google Assistant?

With CES about to swing into gear, and Google apparently gearing up for a personal assistant blitz at the event, we've been thinking pretty hard about how Google Assistant has integrated itself into our lives.

Ignoring a few small hardware snafus, Google's solution has become an indispensable tool for many of us. But, it isn't the only personal assistant game in town. Samsung's Bixby has a following of its own, and Apple's Siri is built into MacBooks and iOS devices. There's also always Amazon's Alexa elephant in the room. So, we're curious, which one do you prefer?

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Microsoft's Cortana assistant is coming to your chats in Skype for Android

In-chat assistance is not a new concept. If you've ever used Google's Allo app, you'll know what it's all about. While in a conversation with a friend, you can call upon the Google Assistant to answer a question, bring up directions, or perform a host of other helpful tasks, all without leaving the conversation. Skype will soon be getting similar functionality, as Microsoft is bringing its Cortana assistant to the messaging app.

As well as being able to bring up web results, you'll be able to utilize Cortana's full range of abilities. These include creating reminders and scheduling calendar events. Cortana will automatically detect when you're talking about something it can help with, and contextual options will be offered just above the chat box next to the blue ring.

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[Who Needs Humans?] Alexa and Cortana will start talking to each other later this year

Some companies see competition in the same field as an adversary that needs to be eliminated in the most cutthroat way, and others see it as a potential for synergistic growth. That latter approach seems to be the philosophy Microsoft and Amazon are taking when it comes to voice assistants. The two companies have just announced that their two brainchildren will be able to talk to each other by the end of the year.

Well, not exactly talk, talk, because that would be creepy if Alexa and Cortana started chit-chatting together without any human input (although at the rate we're going, that doesn't seem to be too far a possibility), but they will be able to call upon each other when asked nicely.

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Cortana v2.9 changes the interface and brings back the hamburger menu [APK Download]

Microsoft has been working on Cortana for Android quite a bit recently. The app received a major redesign with version 2.0 in December, and added lockscreen support in March. Cortana 2.9 has just been released, which changes the UI again.

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