Microsoft is finally bringing its Cortana digital assistant to Outlook mobile apps for Android and iOS devices. The Redmond giant is reportedly in the process of testing Cortana within Outlook, so a future update could soon bring this integration to all users. 

The Verge learned from sources familiar with Microsoft’s plan for Outlook Monday that the company is in the process of integrating Cortana directly into Outlook apps. This means Outlook users will soon be able to use voice commands to control the popular personal information manager. For instance they could listen to and respond to emails using their voice. 

The Cortana integration is expected to be particularly useful when the user is driving. Because Microsoft is testing Cortana to work over Bluetooth and read messages out loud, users could soon ask with the digital assistant to check emails, read messages or look into specific contacts while driving around. 

Details about the ongoing testing are scarce, but The Verge’s sources already shared that phrases like “What’s my email?” will be included in order for Cortana to read recent emails when prompted by users. Other commands are still unknown at this point, but they may be leaked in the coming days or weeks. 

It’s important to note that Microsoft is only testing Cortana integration internally at this point. The project could only proceed to the next step if it were to receive positive feedback from internal testers. The next step is of course beta testing. Then, this could eventually lead to public releases for both iOS and Android. 

The news about Cortana integration into the Outlook apps comes after Microsoft’s Outlook for iOS and Android boss Javier Soltero transitioned to overseeing the Cortana AI assistant. Soltero first joined the Redmond giant following the acquisition of the Acompli email app. The transition means he will henceforth be reporting to Harry Shum, who is Microsoft’s head of AI and research. 

Meanwhile, the Cortana app for iOS gained native iPad support just last month. Prior to this, Microsoft updated the AI assistant’s iPhone app late last year with a revamped interface and improved performance, as per MacRumors. Given all these, it’s clear that Microsoft is working really hard to bolster the user base of its Cortana assistant. 

Microsoft Cortana Microsoft is integrating Cortana into its Outlook apps. Photo: Reuters/Robert Galbraith