Microsoft Launcher Update Brings Cortana Fully Integrated

Microsoft Launcher, the popular launcher app for Android, has a new and big update rolling out.  The new build is version 4.6 for those keeping score at home and it brings a full integration of Microsoft Cortana to the launcher.

Until now, Launcher and Cortana were two separate downloads and apps with basically no interaction between the two.  Now with the integration done, the behavior of Cortana in Microsoft Launcher is similar to the standalone app.  You can make calls, schedule meetings, change wallpaper and continue a browsing activity from your phone to your PC (assuming you are using Microsoft Edge in both places).

Cortana can also read the headlines for you from Launcher, making it easier to interact with it without having to do a lot of app switching.  Right now the Cortana language support is limited but that should change over time.  Today it works in US English, UK English, Canadian English, Australian English and Traditional Chinese.

Other features in this update include the ability to share Microsoft Launcher via NFC or a QR code, support for Arabic/RTL languages, integration with Microsoft Intune for enterprise remote wiping functionality, the ability to chose contacts to display on your People card and the ability to pin a searched app or contact on your Home screen.

Microsoft continues to significantly improve the overall functionality and feel of Launcher as it has quickly become a key app for them in their Android app strategy.  As I put in my review of the app last year (when it was still Arrow Launcher), if you are in the Microsoft ecosystem of apps and services, Microsoft Launcher makes a lot of sense and frankly, can make your daily use of your phone a bit easier (and productive).
If you want to give the app a try, it is a free download in the Play Store.  For those of you who have it installed, the OTA update should be coming to your phone this week.

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