Microsoft recently released its Cortana digital assistant as a beta app, and we’ve been able to get our hands on the preview. Apart from its Material-like design, the app looks, performs, and acts just like the Cortana on Windows Phone. You can ask it to set reminders, give you directions and weather information, or do simple arithmetic. It has its limitations and doesn’t feel quite as intuitive or in-depth as Google Now or Siri, but it has its uses.

Stephen has already shown you a gallery of screenshots detailing some of the app’s features and responses. I wanted to take you through a quick video tour and first experience with the Android version of Microsoft’s assistant. One thing I did like, a lot, is that navigating takes you straight to Google Maps. Since Cortana doesn’t have maps information built in, it’s nice to see such a smooth and hassle-free transition to another app. Although you go out of the Cortana interface, it doesn’t feel disjointed like it sometimes can when switching from an assistant to an app.

The same can’t be said of some simple tasks like asking the time, or asking for sports information, but you can read more about that in Stephen’s post.

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