Microsoft's voice assistant Cortana is now on Android and iPhones

Microsoft has introduced Cortana for Android and iOS in the UK, a year after the digital AI platform was launched in the United States.

Cortana will compete with Google Now and Siri in Android and iOS devices and comes with several new features.

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With this year's Windows 10 Anniversary update, Cortana can now be accessed even when the screen is locked and can perform functions like answering questions, playing music and setting reminders. Cortana can also remember things for you which you recently did and will let you add photos to make your reminders visual. The best part about it is that thanks to Microsoft's Continuum concept, Cortana works across devices, including Xbox, and can be synced accordingly.

The fact that Cortana works with the Bing search engine by default in Windows 10 devices begs a question if it will have to work with Google and Safari search engines in Android and iOS devices. While the Cortana app for Android devices is now available to download, you will be able to download it on iOS devices in a month from now. Like in Windows devices, you will be able to activate it hands-free and a 'Hey Cortana' call should wake it up on your device.

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When Cortana was first introduced for Android in the United States, it couldn't access third party apps but could perform a range of other functions like flight tracking, monitoring traffic and calculating the time required to travel between destinations as well as giving daily reminders. Microsoft says that the Cortana which launched in the UK today is more powerful than the one which launched last year.

With Apple and Google having established Siri and Google Now as default personal assistants for iOS and Android devices through a series of updates over the years, it will be interesting to see if Cortana will be able to dislodge Siri and Google Now as the preferred assistant in the coming years.

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