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How to get Cortana on your Android device

Microsoft's personal assistant is now available in a public beta for Android devices.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

On Monday Microsoft announced it was opening up the beta for its Cortana on Android app, which had been in a closed beta since May. Yes, that means Android users who are interested can replace Google Now with Cortana, should they so desire.

There are some limitations, however. Currently the wake-up phrase of "Hey, Cortana" that provides a hands-free experience is not available, and the app is limited to US users for now. Microsoft has said it's working on expanding to more markets in the future.

To sign up for the beta, you'll first need to visit the sign up page and click on the Become A Beta Tester button. Make sure to use the same Google account that's linked to your Android device if you're prompted to sign in.

Next, you'll need to visit this link to install the Cortana app on your Android device. It takes a few minutes for your Google account to gain the required permissions to see the app as available for download, so if you find yourself staring at an error page after clicking on the above link, give it a few minutes and try again.

It took about five minutes for the app to begin showing up for me.

After installation, you'll be asked a few setup questions in addition to a prompt asking you to sign in to your Microsoft account. Once setup is complete, you can find a similar experience to what you'll find on your Windows 10 PC, including synced reminders, local news and weather. Cortana is also capable of sending text messages or placing calls on your Android device via voice commands.