Microsoft's Cortana 2.0 for iOS brings a "fresh new look" and improved performance

Virtual Assistants: Cortana
The digital assistant world is heating up, and it seems like in the next year we’ll see at least a few new ones — including an assistant from Samsung. As for Microsoft, the tech giant is renewing its efforts to offer you the best digital assistant around, and to that end, it has launched Cortana 2.0 for iOS.

Cortana is one of the few digital assistants available on multiple platforms — users can download a Cortana app on both iOS and Android.

So what’s new in Cortana 2.0? Perhaps the biggest change is the “fresh new look” of the app’s user interface — which in reality just means that the dark gray background has been changed to purple, and the app will now offer more prompts to do things. Microsoft has also redesigned calling, texting, and reminders in the app. Not only that, but Cortana now prompts you with potential questions you can ask — and Cortana will now offer up slightly more immersive full-page answers.

Last but not least, Microsoft promises that Cortana 2.0 now performs a lot better, offering “faster page transitions and improved app responsiveness.” Cortana 2.0 was launched on Android at the end of last year, and it’s now just rolling out to iOS.

It’s certainly nice to see that Microsoft hasn’t totally lost faith in Cortana on iOS and Android, but it’s hard to imagine the new update really having much of an effect on Cortana’s overall popularity. Microsoft in general has been making quite an effort to build its mobile offering through apps on iOS and Android, but only a few of the apps have made real waves — namely the Microsoft Office apps.

Cortana also struggles to offer the same level of integration as Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant on their own operating systems — and it’s unlikely that level of integration will ever happen. Still, if you’re an avid Windows 10 user and want your assistant to work seamlessly from your computer to your phone, Cortana might be the right one for you.

Social Media

Facebook Messenger adds quoted replies to better organize group chats

Facebook is rolling out a feature that should help make group chats a whole lot more organized. The feature allows you to reply to specific messages within a group chat, so others will be able to tell what you're replying to.

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.

Here's how you can control your PS4 right from your phone

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.
Social Media

Federal investigation digs into Facebook’s data-sharing deals

Facebook confirmed it is cooperating with a federal criminal investigation. According to a report, the company is under investigation for sharing user data with smartphone and tablet companies.

Google hit with another fine by the EU, this time for $1.7 billion

Google has been fined for the third time by the EU, this time for breaching antitrust laws by requiring third-party websites using its search function to prioritize its ads over competitors.

Get your hands (and ears) on Apple’s new AirPods — here’s where to find them

Apple's new AirPods with wireless charging are the latest version of the much-loved wireless earbuds. Unfortunately, they aren't widely available yet. Here's where you can find them right now, and where they will show up soon.
Product Review

There’s almost nothing bad to say about the Mi Mix 3, but you still shouldn’t buy it

The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is good-looking, really well made, packed with features, and is a powerful, modern, desirable smartphone. But you probably shouldn’t buy it. Why? Nothing wrong with the device itself, but Xiaomi itself is mostly to…

You can now use the innovative Red Hydrogen One on Google Fi

The Red Hydrogen One was first announced in 2017 and has been delayed a few times since then. Now, the Red Hydrogen One is finally available, featuring a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage.

Apple’s AirPower wireless charging mat may be coming soon

At its September event in 2017, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.

The best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods might be new and improved, but they aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, with attractive features. These are the best AirPod alternatives on the market today.

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.

The latest Google Doodle lets you create Bach-like music of your own

Google is celebrating the life of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach, and to that end the company has released a new Google Doodle that allows you to create Bach-like melodies and harmonies of your own.

Amazon’s new Kindle has an adjustable light and costs less than $100

Amazon has taken the wraps off of a new Kindle model, which boasts a number of great features and comes at a very affordable price. Perhaps the best thing about the new Kindle is that the device has an adjustable.

Apple iPad Air vs. iPad (2018): Which Apple tablet is right for you?

The new iPad Air replaces the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, but it doesn't pack quite the same punch. It is a fair bit cheaper, starting at $500, but it's a lot more expensive than Apple's 9.7-inch iPad which starts at $330. If you're shopping for…