If you still think that Huawei is still hoping for a renewed relationship with Google, you are wrong. During the confrontation with the United States, the Chinese managed to create so many of their own services that I personally really began to understand the meaning of the phrase “sanctions are only for our benefit.” Voice assistant Celia, which Huawei introduced yesterday along with the flagship P40, is the best example of this. After all, if the Chinese had the AppGallery app store for a long time, although it did not develop, it is obvious that they really had to create an assistant from scratch, because without it today there is nothing.
Celia – new voice assistant from Huawei
Despite the fact that Huawei released Celia, practically nothing was said about it at the P40 presentation. Apparently, this is due to the fact that the assistant is still at an early stage of its development and Huawei there is a lot of work to improve it. Nevertheless, already now it is a quite working tool that can be called by the command “Hey, Celia” by analogy with Siri and Google Assistant, which are also able to perceive trigger phrases and turn on even if the user does not touch the smartphone.
How Celia works
In fact, Celia has taken quite a lot from the competition. Moreover Huawei combined the distinctive features of Siri and Google Assistant in such a way that the output turned out to be something, on the one hand, painfully familiar, and, on the other, something completely new. For example, the layout of dialogs, widgets and an interface button for activating the recording is taken from Siri, which the Chinese, so that it is not too obvious, repainted in other colors, while maintaining the usual gradient. As a result, if you close the bottom and top of the screen, it will be almost impossible to distinguish Celia from Siri.
From Google Assistant, here's a compact mode that lets you launch Celia right on the desktop without overlapping the main screen content, animation of the user's voice recording that appears in place of the dialog activation button, and placement of controls at the bottom of the screen. For example, a keypad button for text input requests and a camera activation button for scanning visible objects. This function can be used to translate foreign signs, banners and simple documents.
What Celia Can Do
However, while the functionality of Celia leaves much to be desired. Firstly, at the moment the assistant knows only three languages: English, French and Spanish. Secondly, it recognizes only primitive commands like forecasting the weather, sending messages and switching songs, and is unable to perform more serious tasks, such as Google Assistant. Thirdly, Celia still works only on Huawei P40 and owners of other devices Huawei will not be able to use the assistant until the release of EMUI 10.1, whose release is scheduled for mid-2020.
Of course, the desire Huawei to launch its own voice assistant to compete with Google Assistant and Siri deserves respect. Still, for this, the Chinese had to do a lot of work, orienting the project entirely to the Western market. However, I strongly doubt that Huawei will manage to reach the level of Google Assistant and 'Alice' from Yandex at least within the next couple of years. Still, the development of voice assistants takes time, and none of the market representatives fired right away, as soon as they entered the market.
Will I be using Celia when she gets Russian? I strongly doubt it. The fact is that in terms of convenience and connectivity with Russian services, Alisa is out of competition, and Google Assistant has no equal in terms of functionality. The search giant's voice assistant can do things that no other competitor can do. Therefore, at this stage, Celia does not exist for me. Perhaps in a couple of years it will be brought to mind, but do not forget that Google Assistant and 'Alice' will be two years larger by that time, which means that their functionality will become noticeably wider.