Saturday 16 January 2016

How to turn your Android phone and Windows 10 PC into a dynamic duo with Cortana

One of the best features of Windows 10 is its integration with Cortana, Microsoft's personal digital assistant. Cortana is pretty powerful on its own, but until recently you needed a Windows 10 mobile device to experience the service's full power. That's changing, however, with Microsoft adding new features to Cortana for Android to help your Google-licious phone fit into a Windows 10 world.
Here are three useful Cortana features that turn your Android phone and PC into a powerful combo.
Note: Cortana for iOS was released in December, but does not have the new call and text features that are currently on Android. We will update this post should that situation change.

Missed-call alerts

Microsoft recently added the ability for Cortana for Android users to get missed-call notifications on their PC—or at least I only recently discovered it.
If your phone's in the other room while you're in front of your Windows 10 PC, Cortana will alert you to missed calls.

Text Messages

Send a text from Windows 10 with Cortana on your Android device.
Of course, knowing about missed calls isn't much use if you can't do anything about them. But Cortana for Android has the ability to send text messages from your PC without you ever touching your handset.(Windows 10 mobile devices have a similar feature.)
Alternatively, you can just tell Cortana on your PC, using voice or the keyboard, to "Send a text." That lets you initiate a text message, whether you've just missed a call or not. Similar to Google Now, you can specify the recipient, such as "Send a text to Lisa" or "Send a text to my wife."
The caveat is that you can only send texts and get missed call alerts from people in your contacts list.


Cortana's ability to set reminders is one of my favorite features and is available on Android and iOS versions of Cortana. This feature isn't particularly original since you can set reminders on your phone any number of ways. What I like about Cortana is that the reminders pop-up on my Windows 10 PC as part of the native interface. I also have the ability to snooze them if I need a few minutes (or hours) before I can get to them.
In my tests, reminders worked flawlessly and the texting feature was very reliable. The ability to see missed call notifications, however, was hit-or-miss. It's early days for Cortana on Android so this will probably get better over time.
Remember that even if you do employ Cortana for Android that doesn't mean you have to give up on Google Now. I use both interchangeably depending on which personal assistant is best suited to a particular task.

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