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Cortana beta debuts major UI overhaul and more on Android and iOS

Microsoft is gearing up to release a major update to Cortana on Android and iOS, and beta testers are getting the first shot at it. Cortana version 3.0 is rolling out now to beta users on both platforms, bringing an overhauled UI focused on conversational experiences, new music and podcast connections, and the ability to join Skype and Teams meetings by speaking with Cortana.

Here's the official look at all of what's new:

  • An update to the UI enabling conversational experiences with Cortana and a new place to manage and set up your Cortana devices
  • Listen to music and podcasts on the go. Just ask Cortana to play your favorite tunes and podcasts with Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn on your phone or through a paired Bluetooth device
  • Stay organized and on task. Set reminders, timers and create meetings with your voice
  • Join your next Skype or Teams meeting by simply asking Cortana. You can also manage your calendar or send a quick email by voice

Additionally, references to syncing notifications to your Windows PC have been removed.

Cortana 3.0 Screenshots

Cortana 3.0 beta

Though Microsoft has announced the update to beta testers, we're not seeing it just yet, so it may be part of a slow rollout. However,if you want to get in line to test out everything that's new, you can register to become a beta tester for Cortana on Android at Google Play. Cortana users on iOS will have to be enrolled in the limited TestFlight program to take part.

For everyone else, you'll have to wait until all of the kinks have been worked out with beta testers to see the new features in the release version of Cortana. For now, you can give the current release a shot by picking up the Cortana app on Google Play and the App Store.

Thanks, Ryan T., for the tip!

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

19 Comments
  • It would be nice if there was parity feature-wise for non-US regions. I can set it to the US region to get access to these features but then I get US news and sources in my feed which I don't want.
  • Saves you from having to subscribe to Comedy Central.
  • I sympathize. Microsoft needs to significantly increase Cortana language support. But why not increase it? Google's competitor, Google Assistant, is doing a lot. I'm a Korean. I live in South Korea, if the Google home speaker is also available, Korean is also supported. It can be linked with furniture companies and home appliance companies. But adding Cortana's new language seems to have no plans at all. I am really worried.
  • Need APK
  • You can set Cortana as default on Android, too?! Dangit! Why do I have an iPhone again? lol
  • Is Cortana available in Spanish outside US? Otherwise I don't care. Come on, MS, you're better than this.
  • Cortana for Android does not support Spanish. I do not know why I do not even support the language already supported by Windows 10.
  • Frankly I have no idea what they're doing with Cortana, I'm not even sure they do at times. It's still only truly useful in one country. You can region reset but then that's always messed up other aspects. It's part of the Launcher, but you can't necessarily get the App version, is there even still an App version? It's being scaled back, features taken out, but wait we're updating this and that part of it etc etc. It's right up there with Skype in terms of having gone from one confusing misstep to another.
  • Just use a Windows Phone, you won't have to worry about meaningless updates that just break stuff.
  • A windows...what?
  • Long overdue. I'm glad to know they're not killing Cortana now. The old app was disastrous.
  • Is there a point to this anymore? I LOVE Microsoft products, u think they're the best out there, but if Microsoft doesn't care about them, why should we?
  • Got the "update" and it's the same as it was
  • Can Cortana read texts aloud on android? I really miss that feature on my windows phone.
  • I don't believe so. If they made it just as useful as the W10M version, I would use it all the time. I really miss it from my L950. If I didn't drown it, I would still be carrying two phones. The 950 for an actual phone, and an old Android for work email and non-W10 apps.
  • The beta is terrible, it's worse than what it replaces, if you live anywhere other than USA, this version is useless, with almost nothing available and far less functionality than what it replaces. Amature UI with poor design, terrible design language that is a mishmash of styles, still no full black theme and Cortana and her visual personality and animation has been newtered. This is a vision of a terrible new direction for Cortana.
  • That's why it is a beta version.
  • I'd expect some ground breaking improvements not this amature hour redition. I wish they'd just go back to metro design, pivot menus and windows phone. This is just horrible, Cortana has been left behind by Microsoft like every other promising project they develop. Sad. The manner in which they have treated windows phone, zune and now cortana is an example of what not to do, honestly msft has ruined all their consumer confidence with a lack of vision and commitment to their consumer products other than surface. Who are msft anymore?
  • they should merge cortana in ms launcher