Due to the fact that the U.S. placed the company on a trade blacklist, Huawei is working really hard to develop alternatives to Google apps and services. One of the main features lost is Google Assistant, so Huawei has created its own voice assistant by the name of “Celia”.
Celia is the global version of their own personal assistant in China (called Xiaoyi) and is currently available on the Huawei P40 series of smartphones in the UK, France, Spain, Chile, Mexico and Colombia , Celia currently has the ability to recognize commands in English, French, and Spanish.
Similar to other virtual assistants, Celia has a wake word — “Hey Celia” — though users can elect to press and hold the power button for one second to activate it instead. After that, users can ask Celia to make a phone call, send a text, set an alarm, turn off Bluetooth, set up a calendar appointment, and more.
Huawei is also launching a feature called “face to face translate,” which uses Celia as a virtual translator between two individuals in the same room. Here, each user will see the words spoken by the other person on their phone’s screen in real time
Elsewhere, Celia will also work with Huawei’s existing AI Lens feature, which means the user can hover their phone’s camera over a piece of food and say, “Hey Celia, how many calories are in this?” or ask Celia what type of flower is in front of them.
The information will be displayed on the user’s phone screen as before, except they can now activate the feature with their voice.
Huawei says that it will be expanding Celia to support more features, languages, and countries in future releases. Additionally, the company plans to bring Celia to other devices as they come to market, from speakers to TVs and laptops.