Cortana for China makes a video cameo

Cortana for China makes a video cameo

Finally, there is a video showing off how Windows Phone 8.1 and Cortana would look and work when it lands in China. The video shows the feature demonstrated on a yellow Lumia 1520 phone, and the features shown confirms what we already know about the localization of Cortana for the Chinese market.

As we had reported in the past, the most visual change to Cortana is that rather than a blue orb that we're seeing in the U.S., the Chinese iteration will be a yellow shape with eyes. Microsoft had noted that eye contact was important in the culture and it's a visual change that's made specifically for the country. Cortana is headed to China in beta.

Cortana will interact with users in China with Mandarin in voice, speech, and text. Also, users can also brush up on their English with Bing Translator integration.

Another feature that the Chinese version has is that the built-in notebook of Cortana could also track air quality reports and driving restrictions.

Be sure to look at our prior coverage of Cortana for more details.

Do you like the fact that Microsoft is creating a regionalized version of Cortana? Let us know.

Source: WMPU


Reader comments

Cortana for China makes a video cameo



^ This.

I really hope Microsoft will give us the choice. Ball, face, British accent, Canadian accent, etc.

Point is: Let us choose what we want. Don't make the choice for us, Microsoft.

Absolutely. It is 3D and it turns and looks around, and it's eyes blinks!

May be some day there will be an API for us to draw our own.

I am so glad I spent the last eight years learning Mandarin. Maybe I will use the Chinese version for a while when out is released. That orb face is definately cute.
I wouldn't mind the option to add a little personality to English Cortana. They should make Clippy an option too.

Totally agree! It stays true to Windows Phone and is something people would use. The folders app isn't practical enough for me to bother, better just pining small tiles.

You guys need to learn how to type Chinese correctly, you're embarrassing yourselves.

Also, why the hell is the Mandarin version of Cortana in china? Mandarin is the language of the Republic of China so belongs to Taiwan and should sound proper. Just as Cantonese belongs to the country of Hong Kong, I hope Microsoft can correct this as soon as possible.

First thing first , a language does not only for a county of people , it's belong to everyone , provided you got to know how to speak it and hear it .
Cortana release in China not Taiwan it's because China market and demand is way higher than Taiwan , but Microsoft has promised Cortana will come to worldwide .

Wut. What did you mean by not typing Chinese correctly? They are typing perfectly well IMO, unless you want them to type WPCentral as in WP中心? Unless you want direct translation by typing 窗口电话中心 lol. Or are you trying to translate their conversation using online translators?


Hong Kong is not a country btw.

He probably means we'd type in Traditional Chinese, or 正體中文 as they called in Taiwan. But I gotta say there shouldn't be a discrimination for Simplified Chinese. Talking politics is of no use and boring indeed.

I admit that the traditional characters are more beautiful, but the simplified has been widely used, not only in the mainland but also Singapore. Plaese stop discrimination.

Most people read or write in simplified chinese nowadays. In Taiwan, they are exposed to both simplified and traditional Chinese, although close to none signboards are written in simplified chinese. Thus, I find that it is more appropriate to type in simplified chinese. 

I am not that good in reading traditional chinese myself. Though I certainly do not think that that is the point he is trying to convey. Don't know what he meant lol. (Are there people learning traditional instead of simplified nowadays (other than Taiwan)?) I would call it 繁体字 though, different culture uses different terms I suppose.

Its crazy that they have allocated the resources for this. WP has no presence in China, but I totally get it it's a huge market. Its just crazy that they did it.

I'm quite impressed with this Mandarin speaking Cortana.  I'm speaking Mandarin myself.  The voice of Xiao Na sounds pleasant and clear.  She sounds more femaline than Jan Taylor (Sorry, Jan).  The weather report includes also the pollution index which most Chinese are very concerned.  MS did a fine job on this.  Hopefully, Xiao Na could turn out to be a game changer for WP in China.  It is a very smart move for MS to invest in the Chinese Cortana in addition to the upcoming Chinese version of Xbox One.  It should also offer Xiao Na to the Windows 9.  Xiao Na can prove to be very popular in China in few years.

Yes! Ah! Wish I didn't waste my time with Cantonese and put more effort in the last year's into Mandarin which is nicer in the ears (of an English speaker).

Also HERE maps being properly aligned with GPS in China where Google had their GPS moved off a bit (or had that changed?)

I like live tiles but I don't like too many live tiles flip in my start screen. It looks cool but it is uncomfortable to see too many information at the same time by small flipping tiles.

So I hope that live folder don't flip if I put tiles like IE and office and if I put live tiles like news apps, live folder flip and show the updated picture and news from each apps.

Xiao Na really looks cute, I also wonder if that Xiao Na avatar will actually for east Asian market.
Folders also looks great. I'm excited now for Update 1.

I don't get how this live folder will be implemented. If you drag a tile and place it on another tile it will create a folder. But if your intention is just to rearrange the tile by making the other move a place up, down, left or right. So how do you achieve that.

You place the tile on top of another to make live folders. If you simple want to move the placing of the map, place it on the space between them.

If you leave go of the tile you are moving whilst it is hovering over another tile, it will become a folder, if you move it left or right etc of the the other tile, it will push the time sideways

Cortana isn't playing nice on my 1520 after updating to 8.1.Had to remove the tile from the home screen and disable the app.

Did that twice,does not work.It's a big problem for the AT&T 1520.Had to disable then enable to stop the massive over heating and battery loss and black loading screen.Trick is not to put the app back on the home screen after enabling.Hopefully Microsoft has a fix for this.

I have an at&t 1520 and i do not have this issue. I have Cortana on my home screen. The only issue I have run into is that the live lock screen sometimes does not come up if the phone has been sleeping for a while.

Not all are experiencing this problem,but my phone has gone haywire after updating.It's a pretty big topic on the AT&T forums.The live lock screen I won't even try to upload until their is a fix for the resume bug.

I love the differentiation, I think the market is shifting to new things, tablet and phone sales are stagnant and I bet in two years people will be shifting to Windows phone cause its so different

I am afraid that WP won't be very different than android or iOS in two years. They are messing with the hubs, acting dull on Xbox live integration, they have action center similar to iOS and android, Office is not exclusive anymore, same word flow keyboard, they have even messed up with the "me tile" i guess and still similar features more are coming...

At least the US Cortana doesn't look gay. It's kinda how Cortana is in the game. Seems like most of you douche bags don't know where Cortana comes from

Cortana is a "she" not an "it".  Check the official homepage.  "Gender: Female".   She's a digital female, not a biological female.

Ok, so I am a gay man and I love the HALO games. It's you who is a douche bag for being so stereotypical. Your words and the attitudes they represent are offensive to many and out of step with the times and the course of history. I weep for you.

Doesn't "look gay"? So by your logic, US Cortana doesn't look as if she's attracted to other virtual assistants of the same gender? Alrighty then.

This is not helping to calm my concerns.  Region specific Cortana variants are scaring me.  What about people that work overseas, and not in their home country, but still want to use Cortana?  For example, me:  I'm a Canadian, living and working in China.  I purchased my Lumia 925 in China, and when the Cyan update finally becomes available for my device, will I be stuck with the Chinese "Xiao Na?"  How does this help me?  Especially if it / she is primarily in Chinese??  I am super disappointed in Microsoft if I don't get the option to choose my Cortana variant.

lol... you are complaining about something you don't know... cortana works with the system settings (region/language) not with the real location. if you buy a chinese wp just go to settings and set the country and language you want and cortana will works in your language.

I'm not complaining, merely stating a concern, as it seems with all the reading I have been doing, there won't be an option, and that "Xiao Na" will be all that's available for my device.  I certainly hope you're right, but will confirm once Cyan is finally released for my phone.  If you are right, then that means a person in Canada should be able to change their regional settings to China, and then have access to 'Xiao Na' in Canada?

Okay, so you're in Africa, using Cortana.  Did you buy your device in Africa also, or is your device from an English speaking nation?  From reading that I've done, and posts I've been following, I am getting the impression that I will only get a regional specific version of Cortana for my phone, here in China known as "Xiao Na."  I purchased my Lumia 925 in China, and am thus concerned that when the personal assistant finally becomes available for my device, it will be...XIAO NA - the Chinese version of Cortana, and that I will NOT have the option of having the normal English version of Cortana, that all other English speaking countries will be able to receive.

Yes, I bought my device in Africa and has firmware of "mea" I'm using Cortana just by changing the language and location. It doesn't matter where you bought the device Cortana isn't an app

Wow there's nothing more annoying than someone referring to Africa like its a country. Even worse when an African does so.

Not you,I maent DreamerUp. You got the notification because your comment was the original. You said you were from Canada (country) living in China (country) and he said he was "in Africa" (continent). It absolutely doesn't make sense to me when people say, "I'm going to Africa". Where in Africa? I can say "I'm going to Asia" and most people would assume I'm going to China or Japan but in reality I may be going to Iraq which is on the the other side of Asia. So people use countries. Its why I don't get why people don't do the same for Africa (with its 54 countries and all).

That's what you non Africans do, and since I'm speaking with 'you' I thought I'd do the same to avoid further questions.
I'm in Zanzibar btw

It's understandable as not everyone knows African countries, or they don't want prejudice for being from say Nigeria. I see it like someone saying "I'm from Europe" when there's no need for specific details. I'm from Australia which is both country AND continent. Where's your god now? :P

Really looking to forward to 8.1 update 1 now. Creating a personalized version of Cortana so that fits in the Chinese culture is a major step in the right direction. The last thing you want is to offend users.. That is a big no no lol.

Blue orb, yellow shape? Surely you know that the colour of Cortana / Xiao Na is just the accent colour of the phone?

Y en español para cuando? Los chinos hasta demandan a Microsoft, pero si las hacen su versión especial de Cortana. Y en Latinoamérica que se usa bastante y en España nada. Y no digan que porque el español es complejo, al menos merecemos tambien una versión beta no?

Cortana is a clever way of Ms to get more people to try bing service and if apple decide to integrate bing into its siri, then it's a big win. They just need to make bing decent on more markets, then with a user base in 3 platforms ios,wp and windows could give google headace. Sry for my english

Threshold would boost Cortana and Bing even further as it would be waiting for you in the taskbar at PC, Xbox and of course as well in the merged windows phone and rt OS

I already have Bing in my taskbar with Bing desktop. They should make it inbuilt in OS or a important update instead of optional one.

I prefer this over our circle!!!!! :(   I hope they give us the option to change it or change it all together.  This one feels more personable and fun and matches the Cortana in Halo a bit better (i.e. circle with two eyes).

Aside from some cut scenes, Cortana is most often a disembodied voice in the Master Chiefs head. I actually like the avatar that MSFT used for Cortana. However, I do think that some customization in the future would be a good thing.

Wow XiaoNa is much more integrated into WP8.1 than Cortana.  It's integrated into Weixin messagging app and could sent a msg there.  Even launch music and play songs (the guy was saying "I feel like listening to blahblah and XiaoNa just searched and played!).  And the weather gives PSI index.

I hope soon Cortana could send message from Whatsapp , Viber etc and not defalt to SMS.  And for now I could ask Cortana to Open Music app, but not search and play song.

Somehow China's Xiao Na seems to be able to do more...

Hmm, not sure what you are talking about, but Cortana plays music that I have in my library in Xbox music on command. I just asked her to play "Come With Me Now" by Kongos and she played it perfectly. Now, I would love to be able to use apps like BBM to send messages via Cortana. But that means the app designers need to use the Cortana API's

hmmm I just tried again.  Cortana keep pulling up search results instead of play songs... Maybe I need to ask her gently and maybe buy her dinner... 

It was my pleasure. That was the first time I have ever uploaded something to YouTube. It also spurred me to change my theme for WP from Indigo to Crimson. :-)

Good informative video.  I think you need a camera grip to keep the video steady, if you are making another one.

I still keep my theme in Indigo though with the background image, there are only few tiles to show the colour.

Btw, you have a great voice.

Wow, seeing Xiao Na in action makes me want to have an option to switch the animation. At first sight, as it was announced I thought how alien like she looks but as seeing her in action it fits totally and isn't ugly at all. In Japan they have no real market share but would be interesting if they would do also a customized animation like an anime figure or something like that. And MS should really build an option for the animation, having a choice here would be a big plus point for Windows Phone.

I would love to see what's happening in the background with all that noise.... Lol

Second, big screen phones aren't helping this fellow's hands out

It is funny to see how people handle these larger phones. I can see why Apple has been so reluctant to increase the size of the iPhone. I love the Lumia 1520, but it is a very large device to carry around and use.

Why the hell dont we get an option for what Cortana looks like? Thought this platform was all about customization. Much rather have that face thing than this lame circle

Cortana is still in BETA and was just released. Think of this as v1.0. Give it a bit of time. I am sure that we will have more options than we will know what to do with.

Can we not get obsessed with the superficial aspects of Cortana? The animations and customization of look and sound should improve over time. Those aspects are important, but the things Cortana Beta actually does and doesn't do as an assistant are far more important.

You know , even if they dont, you can post an idea on cortana feedback uservoice page, your idea will certainly be looked into, and i presume it will be voted like hell too ;)

Family of Cortanas lol. It'll be interesting to see if different regions get different looking Cortanas. Pretty cool that "all" the WP8 devices are still supported.

Chin chon choong choo.....wii lenovo xiaomi gionii....wooo fooo poo weeee peee....chao paao chow meen.....kungfooooo aaaaa.....jet leee bruce lee...... Child porn SEZ...ying yeng po foo chooo.

Microsoft should bring cortona in india too, coz there are more number of English speaking people in India, hence there's no need to bring Hindi lang to cortona.......

Retarded comments asking for Ch Cortana in English incoming. Some of you are never happy.. Your phone can't cook for you, you lazy piece of waste.

Folders look awesome imo, no more tiny tiles, cleaner UI, music lists galore (in folders).
Also, I kind of like the alien more, considering I really like the ringu one can assume MS knows their stuff in regards to aesthetics and Cortana will look awesome :)

I do want Cortana regionalized for EU. We don't use Gallons or Miles or Feet, Stone, Farenheit, inches, etc but Km, L, Celcius. And changing to a UK version don't help much for the near future.
And it would be nice if she can read regional news, sports and info. I don't use her that much because of the wrong metric system. And my Englisch is to bad I guess. Most of the time she spels me wrong :p

And I love the (mature) circle more than the porknose or childisch looking figure from the Chinese version! 

I like the icon and animations also the fact she changes format accordingly to the type of answer. The information seems important to be regionalized so it can be relevant. The question is and we know the answer this will only be for the big economies or most populated countries

Giving us choices are great and I'm for that, however I saw disagree with the change of the name. I may be wrong but did apple change the name of Siri?

It is good market tactics, Xiao Na feels much closer to the people then Cortana, which was a game based idea, something which the Chinese aren't that familiar with.
Anyway, as opposed to someone who pointed out, now there are girls on WP Central, unless am mistaken.

Chinese use: Cortana...tell suggest me a Mexican food place near me...
Chinese cortana: There is a Mexican restaurant just 5 kms away....they serve best Jalapeno Noodles in town.

After seeing this video, I believe it supports my views that microsoft should turn around their roadmap and start support Cortana native language support for other countries first. If Cortana is able to recognize such intonation subtleties of the spoken chiness, it could certainly understand other languages as well. I think Cortana is now good enough for this roadmap to go ahead. I understand micorosft wants to get things perfect with Cortana English, but it will be a roadmap, that will put back the cortana international project another 10 years. In general Siri and google voice have been longer on the market than Cortana. It would be smart for microsoft to have the guts to do things differently and think more to the end-user. Microsoft already has an extensively language pack database of countless languages. It would be smart to build on that and manage a more efficent translation project with all their global offices. I think only then Cortana will shine more and be more useful.

My vote goes to Dutch;)

I really like the look and features of the Live Folders. The ability to name them and have them act as the group while you still have room to put a main (signature) tile to the side of it will prove very useful. In time every market that has Alpha Cortana will help make their own Cortana version much better when it leaves out of BETA. Its no simple task to get the cultural things down pat.

With Microsoft doing this much struggle to get Cortana in other countries, it is hard to think that they won't make it available on other platforms, which will strip WP of any remaining advantages it had over rival platforms. It's entirely upon Nadella if he wants to destroy WP or not.

Guys, just thought I should let you know that videos and web links don't work in the Windows Phone Central app on .. Windows phone. Hopefully it gets sorted soon.