Microsoft's Cortana is finally coming to iOS and Android devices through the Outlook app. The personal assistant will appear on iOS first, followed by Android in Spring 2020.
With the arrival of Cortana on the Outlook app, iOS and Android users will be able to ask the assistant to read out emails and calendar invites through a "Play my Emails" feature when they are connected to headphones, and they will also be able to flag or archive the emails whilst listening.
In addition to the new email feature, Microsoft is said to be introducing a more "masculine" voice and Cortana should sound more natural too. According to the company's head of Cortana, Andrew Shuman: "Both our voices have also been upgraded to use Neural Text to Speech capabilities, making them sound even more natural thanks to deep neural networks that match the patterns of stress and intonation in spoken language."
Other changes to Cortana include a daily briefing email generated by the assistant that will offer Office 365 users in the US in the coming weeks a summary of meetings and important documents and there will be a new Scheduler feature for organising meetings.
The Scheduler feature will work like cc'ing a personal assistant into an email, allowing users to ask Cortana to "find a time for us to have a Teams call this week and also book a room". Cortana will then find a time that works for everyone, reserve a room, add a Teams meeting, and send out the invite for you. Smart hey.
Despite other assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa becoming smarter and smarter, Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella claimed earlier in 2019 that the company didn't see Cortana as a competitor to the likes of these assistants. Instead, Cortana is said to be repositioned as a skill that can run anywhere.