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Cortana now lets you start calls and send texts with your voice on Android

If Cortana is your digital assistant of choice on Android, Microsoft is making it a little easier to send texts and make calls when your hands are full. The latest update headed out to Cortana for Android adds in support calling and texting with Cortana voice input, meaning you can do both without having to use your hands (via Windows Blog Italia).

The implementation is pretty straightforward overall. If you want to call or text a specific person, you simply say "call" or "text," followed by the person's name to get started. Requesting a call will immediately initiate the call, while asking Cortana to send a text will take you to a second step where you can dictate your text and confirm you want to send it.

If you've used other digital assistants on Android, this isn't anything new. However, it's a pretty handy feature to have, particularly if you're a big fan of Cortana.

If you want to give the feature a shot, you can check it out now in the latest update to Cortana on the Google Play Store.

See at Google play (opens in new tab)

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.

72 Comments
  • Hopefully this is a step towards the WP functionality of reading incoming texts and allowing one to respond via bluetooth.
  • ...or via wired headset. Using the aux cable in my car and hearing messages and responding by voice was awesome. They Really need to put this on my forced Android device.
  • YES. And by the way, this was on wp five YEARS ago. How the hell have neither Google not Apple integrated that feature into their freaking mobile os's? Most obvious things EVER to copy!
  • I'm guessing it's because there's no great demand for it and in 2018 text messages are hardly used these days either with the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger etc being far more popular
  • Looking at my extended family's usage, text is used over phone calls by a mile.
  • Same here. Texting is by far most common, Facebook Messenger is second, but it's not even close. There's probably 100 texts for every Facebook message.
  • The original Moto X did this but I don't think the newer ones do. I always shut it off because it was annoying. You don't want your text messages to be read when someone else is in the car. Google Assistant and I think Siri does this, but you just have to ask them, it isn't automatic.
  • I never ride with others, or at least use my phone while I do, so it was extremely convenient. It's good to hear that the other assistants can do this, because I have heard that they couldn't do it natively through the OS and required some kind of app. Because I want connectivity to my W10 PC natively through the OS, I will continue to use Cortana for the limited features that I would use an assistant for. Also to Dvo's comment, many, many people still use SMS. Especially those of us that actually don't use social media. I send around 1200+ messages a month, and I'm a light user. You need to tell your statement to all the millennials that I work with that still use SMS as well. Sure, they snap crap and all of that, but they quickly send and respond to text messages as well. I never understand this argument when people throw blanket statements out just because they don't use a feature. It's ridiculous.
  • I was actually surprised that Google Assistant can't do this (Can't speak for Siri). You can ask it something to the effect of "Read new messages" but you don't get them as they come in.
  • Have you ever used Cortana in the car? She does not automatically read it to you. She would ask, "You have a text from..., would you like me to read it?"
  • I have a feeling he hasn't done Cortina most things.
  • Can Bixby read messages like that?
  • Honestly one of the main reasons I keep my 950, it is a very useful feature both in the car and while my hands are full doing prep work for my labs.
  • I'll start using Cortana if this happens. Until then Google assistant does everything Cortana does.
  • Android Auto does it and a whole lot more
  • Are you talking about the software one needs a newer vehicle or audio system to use? Built into the phone's OS isn't the same thing.
  • That has ben available in Windows phone since Cortana's launch. You can also do it from the MS band Years ago 🙄 ohhh i forgot this site wanted to proclaim the death of windows Phone for years 🤔
  • This has obviously been on Windows Phones. But, since there is no development on that OS and 4 out of 5 people in the world using an Android phone, a site covering Microsoft can talk about new features brought to Microsoft's apps on other platforms.
  • Technically, this is "Windows Central," not "Microsoft Central."
  • Cortana is a core aspect of Windows. Cortana is on Android. This isn't rocket science.
  • You didn't have to defend against this message. Thank you for not posting articles about Playstation.
  • If they had Xbox games/services on Playstation, they would. There wouldn't be anything wrong with that either.
  • Well duh of course it has been a feature on W10M forever, but that's not an option right now anymore for most people so it's good it's on Android
  • 2 years ago I was right there with you. But we're not talking about speculation anymore. It's dead, let it go.
  • But..it IS dead
  • Not in Dutch she won't 😭
  • I am going to try the bêta version.
  • Start warming up your English skills then... or did I miss something about Dutch & beta?
  • English (Canada) for Cortana doesn't work 😥
  • Great step up but not entirely hands free (I don't think). It's my understanding that Android will not let Cortana actively listen behind a locked screen???
  • It won't listen behind lockscreen but they have managed to add a shortcut on the lockscreen which can be used without unlocking the phone.
  • Correct AFAIK. The closest I've gotten is on my Moto Z2. I can say "Show me Cortana" which opens her interface then "Hey Cortana..." after that. It works...50% of the time.
  • Haha, after all that it only works 50% of the time?
  • It is amazing that Cortana on my Android phone is still so far behind Cortana on my four year old Lumia Icon.
  • It's not amazing, it's to be totally expected considering cortana is not the native AI on Android. They can't just integrate it into Android as deeply as on WP/W10M
  • He's implying that Cortana on his 4 year old phone can do more than a OS that's been in development for 10 years.
  • I would love to try this sometime on my Android phone.
  • Now she just needs to control Google Play Music. As much sh*t Bixby gets very useful and I've seen Bixby 2.0 big Improvement. The one thing I can say about Samsung is they really are going big on IOT the space MS and others have suffered.
  • Cortana no longer responds on my Lumia 950, I have to open the phone go in and get her myself.
  • is battery saver on. i having no problem on mine with hey Cortana
  • but Android already do this, so why is a third party app needed?
  • Because options? or if you don't want to use Google assistant or whatever else people might be using?
  • Google now blows Cortana out the water at this point
  • On Android, Google now blows Cortana out the water at this point Fixed it for you.
  • Google doesn't work so well when I'm at my PC or my laptop.
  • Options are always good. I'll be using a combination of Alexa/Cortana on my Android when I replace my W10M. Alexa for my smart home stuff, Cortana for communication stuff. (UK based so still no smart home integration on the Cortana front).
  • The same reason people prefer Word over Google Docs. The same reason people prefer OneDrive over Google Drive or Outlook over Gmail. Just because we have to use Android or iPhone, it doesn't mean that we want to use everything native. I use only the Android features that I can't avoid. Besides, Google may do it, but it still doesn't do it as well as Cortana did on Windows Mobile, when it came to being truly hands free for making and responding to texts and calls. It would be nice to see Cortana deeply integrated, but that's not an option. Who knows what the future may hold. On the flip side of things, if MS were to partner with Google and get back into making phones and integrate MS Launcher, with Cortana, this might be possible. I don't see Google allowing MS to have that much control over their OS, so that isn't even a thing. Just kinda "thinking out loud." I think it might be interesting to see what a truly MS Edition Android phone would look like, though.
  • Maybe by the time I'm forced, kicking and sobbing, to switch from my Lumia 950xl to a decent android camera (Nokia 9?), the Cortana experience will have caught up to where it was 5 years ago on my Lumia 550
  • The Nokia 8 has a decent camera, I'm just waiting on the Pro camera app for it.
  • You might really like the Google Pixel ... fast, fabulous camera, no bloatware, security and software updates as SOON as available. Coming from the Lumia Icon, I am enjoying this phone.
  • If they can just get cortana to read and reply to SMS like in w10m.. I fired up my trusty 950xl today.. lovely phone, they should have given it fast charge though and supported it. The OS is so nice compared to Android
  • The 950XL has quick charge though, it's pretty dang fast.
  • Confirmed this works great. The next step is to have Cortana deposit the outbound messages in your actual text messages app. Right now when I send a text with Cortana, it doesn't show up in my conversation with that person.
  • Steps in the right direction toward getting Cortana on Android to almost be as great as it was on my old Lumia 950. Hopefully, they'll find a way to get this working when the device is locked soon!
  • This version now shows the wrong day (Tuesday instead of Monday) for an upcoming appointment
  • I've been yelling at my Galaxy S8 for 5 minutes. Nothing.
  • Ok Google works pretty good on my device without any yelling.
  • Thanks glad to know
  • Why are there still two Cortina instances on Android? I guess for the people who don't want the launcher? This split apps aspect of this platform is kind of annoying. I would almost rather go back to not having an app, or only having one subpar one rather than having the problem of not knowing which one I need to get to get the current features.
  • Well the standalone cortana app came first then Microsoft launcher. I'm assuming they'll need both, one for those who don't use the launcher and the other for the launcher. Unless the standalone app can somehow integrate into the launcher if it's installed. Yeah I agree it can be confusing. I think it would be best if the standalone app can integrate into the launcher. I believe the standalone app has the most features.
  • Thanks for the explanation.
  • The feature described in the article only seems to work in the standalone app, not the MS Launcher app with embedded Cortana. Very annoying!
  • Why Microsoft don't release Cortana in Spanish if its works in Windows PC, Mobile already?
  • I was wondering why i couldn't do this the other day on my Droid. Happy this got fixed but this should have been there a LONG time ago. Oh...MS. smh
  • U mean what Windows Mobile has done for years??? Who cares. Android is total junk. You can't dress mutton as lamb, it just looks tacky. Doesn't matter what shell you put around Android, it's still crap.
  • Yes Windows Phones have had this functionality for years as CORTANA IS INTEGRATED into the phone at the OS level.
  • Once I switch to android I won't be using it, google has the only assistant in Dutch, soon to be released. I don't see why I should still bother with this go back in time version of Cortana. I also don't understand why MS still bother to put effort in this, they lost the assistant battle. Just put her out of her misery and discontinue Cortana. She can be put on the big pile of discontinued or soon to be discontinued MS half assed products and services.
  • So harsh. At least they're trying.
  • The lack of true handsfree operation (reading my messages to me and allowing responses over a headset) in Android and Apple (really cannot figure out why it isn't there) is one more reason to wait for the next generation of pocketable MS devices with telephony.
  • Nice to see Cortana getting new features.
  • I would love to see the ability to start calls from the PC. It would in my mind automatically start the call with the loudspeaker or headset. As an aside my 950 lives in my satchel with a PAYGO chip ready to take over from my S8 when the battery dies.
  • How many languages and which languages does Cortana support on android?