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Microsoft announces Cortana for China, UK with 'alpha' status for India, Australia, and Canada

Cortana heads to UK, China in beta, while India, Canada and Australia get opt-in alpha program

Tonight in Beijing, China, corporate vice president at Microsoft Joe Belfiore announced new Cortana rollout plans for Windows Phone 8.1 users, including a new 'alpha' program to speed up the deployment process. Furthermore, full details about Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 were also released, including early access starting next week.

As expected, China and the UK are now getting access to Cortana on a beta status, with substantial customization done for both countries, especially in China where some significant changes to the UI of Cortana have taken place. Additionally, India, Australia, and Canada are now part of an "early adopter program" where users can "opt-in and…try Cortana using English language models from the US and the UK."

China and "Xiao Na"

China is a unique testing ground for Cortana and presented some unique cultural challenges for the development team. Cortana, nicknamed "Xiao Na", works the same way as the current US version, but there are some unique customizations to better suit the Chinese populace. One instance of this change is an optional "alternative form" where instead of being a bouncing blue ball, Cortana has two eyes and "face". Microsoft tells us this has to do with eye contact being necessary in that culture for these types of applications. Moreover, Cortana has some other unique abilities in China, including:

  • Chinese (Mandarin) in voice, text, and speech
  • Specialized suggestions like air quality information in weather cards, information about driving restrictions, and the ability to track local TV shows and celebrities
  • Cortana can look up English words in the Bing Dictionary for people looking to brush up on their English

UK and Cortana finally meet

The UK is also now getting its own customized version of Cortana, with regionalization implemented to better suit the British market, including:

  • UK spellings and pronunciations
  • Bing-provided local data on sports teams (for the EPL), the London Stock Exchange, commuter conditions, and more
  • Localized voice, accent and personality for the UK

Minor updates coming to US users too

Not to be left out, those in the US are seeing some recent changes to Cortana, which we have documented over the last few days. Besides references powered by Foursquare and app recommendations, Microsoft is announcing the following new additions to Cortana:

  • New natural language scenarios
  • Snooze times for reminders
  • Additions to her personality e.g. impressions
  • Now answers 'Where am I?' and related questions
  • Cortana hands-free in your car for phones connected to car Bluetooth kits that are integrated with your contacts list (If your car kit is integrated with your contacts, you can now treat Cortana as a contact to invoke her, simply saying "Call Cortana" and then talking to her as you normally would.)

It is clear from Microsoft actions that Cortana is a high priority release for them, and community feedback is a driving factor in that decision. Users demanding access to Cortana is causing Microsoft to shift resources to speeding up deployment globally and the more customers opt-in, the more data and feedback the Cortana team can absorb, ensuring that those programs continue.

Further release plans for Cortana going forward are currently unknown, but it is evident that if these alpha scenarios see high user-adoption, Microsoft could continue to rollout Cortana on a provisional basis in more regions.

Stay tuned for more coverage on Cortana, including answers to your questions to the Cortana team about the challenges in going international!

Source: Windows Phone Blog

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

331 Comments
  • Xiao Na looks cute. Would be great to have that as an option for Cortana. Stoked to see Microsoft keep pushing the envelope with Cortana!
  • Why Microsoft prefer China to others country?
    China government is totally against Microsoft.....
  • What makes you think they prefer China?
  • The market share is higher in Germany and yet there isn't even an alpha. (Yes I know the potential in China is quite different ;)) Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Yeah thats a total wonder. They are banking hard on Cortana to increase market share in China which is around 1%. I think someones smoking too much crack if they think thats gonna boost the numbers into double digits.
  • That's right, China only has 3.5% market share in a country with a population of 1.36 Billion. Instead, it makes sense to concentrate on say, Germany with a 5.9% market share in a country with a population of 80 million? Right. Makes total sense....
  • Yes because we in Germany speak German... Btw evry German can speak English (everyone up to 40 xD)
  • Is all about the money, money, money. And politics of course. Xbox into China, big market, Cortana to match.
  • No, not aganist, just for some securities of the government.
  • Sam, will Cortana UK get Formula 1 under SPORTS TEAMS?
  • Yeah I hope so cause if not its a huge fail!!!!!   They sponsor Lotus F1 under the MS Dynamics banner so it remains to be seen if they actually have a clue!
  • It shows how good the MS marketing team is when: a) They put out ads showing their links with Lotus just as they turn crap (partially Renault fault admittedly, not fully Lotus) b) They decide to have that waste of space called Maldonado, not Grosjean, as their driver representative in said advert. PS good might be the wrong word .......
  • that's the question of the year, even in the US. I don’t know how much more of Hams bad luck I can take. Its driving me nuts.
  • Future looks cortana..... Patients does pay.. :)
  • can any1 tell if I change back the region of my phone to India will I have access to use cortana on my phone..?? Like m havin currently using US region ..!
  • No. At least for me it's not working. She will then disappear from your phone. All data will be kept though. So of you turn it back to U.S. she might be unpinned but all data and settings are still there.
  • Okkk thnx for the reply :)
  • No, it will turn back to bing search
  • Big country? Haha
  • Although I live in the US my phone is set to the UK so I'm looking forward to Cortana next week. Which, by the way, has been delayed yet again... Here's hoping it's out next week. :S As for the others, I can only say that I don't see why they can't flip the switch for the whole world... Sure they may experience some scaling issues and may possibly offer a sub-par version of Cortana but most people have been generally happy with Cortana's performance when setting their region to the US.  
  • + a finnish 920 in Germany!
  • Can you elaborate the term Alpha please.....???
  • It's the stage before Beta release.
  • Cortana coming soon to India.
  • ओए कोरटाना, क्या कर रेली हैं।
  • अभी हाथो पर मेहन्दी लगा लगा रखी । रच जायेगी तब इन्डिया आयेगी।
  • Like i will fuck you now what indian say.. ए कोरटाना चू* दे दे।
  • So for other countries its in the gamma status?? :-p
  • Omega status!
  • Gamma status, if exists, would be after beta. Alpha is the lowest stage for a product that is being tested by users.
  • Is there any registration fr alpha cortana?
  • Cortana for India...Awesome news !! MS has finally started giving India what it deserves. :)
  • what it deserves... alpha version?
  • lmfao
  • lol  
  • Shit?
  • There is three stages: Alpha & Beta & Gamma
  • Software doesn't have a Gamma stage. It's called 'release'.
  • It's four! Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta! Lol
  • If i'm not mistaken. Alpha is the preliminary stage for Cortana. Here for India they've already written a basic code for cortana so it works. But cortana only gets info from all the apps and the web and is only available in english. All other dialects and languages have not been tapped into. this phase is where the ideas are just begun. beta phase is where they test what is made and also let users experience it and give back feedbacks. in beta improvements and additions still come into play. This is just my thoughts. Any one can give a much clear idea, like technicaly please do explain. Interested in knowing. Wpcentral editors?? +920
  • These are software testing concepts. Alpha is testing done at microsofts offices under controlled conditions. Beta is tesing done in real world through end users.
  • You can choose the US or UK version of Cortana, so you'll get most of the features without hacking and just lacking some regional content.
  • कोरटाना आज बारिश होगी या नहीं ?
  • For non-Hindi speakers, Vinit just said "Cortana, will it rain today or not?" :D
  • I think MS prioritizes the countries that have a unique culture or language. Such as China with its mandarin and UK with British accent.
  • Then here in Canada where literally everyone speaks English, we get the Alpha... *sigh*
  • Not everyone! Some speak French, others speak both at the same time. I hope Cortana can understand multiple languages at the same time or at least have a button to swap language like I can do with the keyboard.
  • True, but even in Quebec most people speak English. Honestly, it has to be because of the ridiculous east coast accents as well as the Quebecois English accent.
  • Wrong. That statement would be right for Montreal area only.
  • But you can say that New York state also have there accents. some speak Dutch English right together. 
  • There are huge parts of Quebec where most people are monolingually French speaking. There are parts of New Brunswick that are the same. There are allophone pockets in every major cities where most people speak neither French nor English. There are areas in the north where little English is spoken. Canada has very high rates of immigration- almost twice the rate of the US per capita and second in the world only to Australia, per capita, but with far more diverse sources of immigration than Australia has- and is incredibly linguistically diverse.
  • @Iarus Surai  -  Your comment made me laugh mate, That was funny :) lol
  • It basically means you can access the US (or UK if you prefer since you have the same head of State) version without any regional hacking. It's not so much alpha, as beta without the localisation. It's good to see MS listening and giving people this option, better than their usual "US only" stance.
  • You must forget that French is our second language...
  • every year I go to Montreal for Formula 1 and we come across people in restraints that have to get someone to translate what we are saying. so no not everyone speaks English in Canada.
  • Is this available in Hong Kong?
  • I really don't know when HK will get it, or "if", indeed. In many international things nowadays Hong Kong is simplistically just bundled into the Greater China, so therefore... China market. 7 million is not a big number for a language group, especially when expected to use English or Mandarin anyway.
  • Good stuff must about to try it moving from US version.
  • How do I get cortana in the UK?
  • Nope, I don't see it either. We have to wait a little longer I guess.
  • Just read elsewhere that it comes with Update 1... One week!
  • Yes, next week. Update 1 is going to be released with Cortana in both UK and China.
  • Where did you read that as the article doesn't mention it at all and I would expect wp central to have mentioned it as well!!?!
  • Cortana is at the top of the release notes of GDR1 preview. Look for engadget.com's report on this. She will arrive next week with GDR1.
  • Well that just plain sucks considering that for the UK and China we were told "within 2 weeks", looks like that turned out to be a complete steaming pile of BS then!!!!
  • Ok, well whatever... On another note, this is pretty exciting!
  • The last 'official' comment (albeit twitter) was in less than two weeks, which would mean latest by THIS friday. I knew I should have taken the bet that it wouldn't materialise till later. There must have been an 'unforseen event' :)
  • Does this mean Cortana UK will get to show Formula 1 under Sports?! Cortana US doesnt have a clue what F1 is, and what makes it worse is that I'm in the Philippines. lol
  • In China, it is said to be coming along with the update 1 preview next week, guess it is similar in UK
  • when?
  • Next week
  • How do we opt-in?
  • Update 1 next week
  • no love to Brazil-- what a shame
  • yeah, being the third biggest market I had some hope, but it's as always, our unique variant of language is too much of a hassle to localize.
    at least with UK Cortana I can finally use temperature and distances in an unit system that makes sense.
  • Aye
  • India only gets English and not Hindi. So many people in India do not know English well, so we are in the same boat. The more involved you get with Cortana English version and give suggestions, the earlier you will get Cortana localized to your language.  
  • I love Brasil!
  • Ok so how do we turn her on! ;)
  • Wait for Update 1
  • You obviously don't get the joke. LOL.
  • I see what you did there.
  • Well, it's quite simple really.  All you have to do is press the... waaaaaait-a-minute!
  • Lol
  • Make me come alive come on and turn me on..... Turn me on.......tur.tur.tur...
    ..turn me on !
  • Rub in the right spot?
  • How do you opt in the alpha? Canadian user.
  • It will arrive with GDR1 preview.
  • I hope that this 'alpha' program will soon be expanded to other countries and languages and that Xiao Na will be intensively marketed in China and boost Windows Phone sales. At least Windows Phone isn't a 'monopoly' there.
  • hmmm, would be nice to get some Aussie Cortana in this end of the world... even in Alpha, it'll beat getting the weather in Fahrenheit... Hangin out for those details on how to "opt in" :D
  • I hear ya bro!
  • +925 ;)
  • Coming soon to INDIA means indian users changing region to either UK or US?
  • guess you don't need to. But they may provide the service based on that in UK or US
  • No need to change. It will be a sort of keep-your-own-region but use Cortana's UK version (in India) or US version (elsewhere)
  • It means that you can keep the region as India, but change the language to English(US) or English(UK)
  • This is very good news, looking forward to final public release in UK
  • Nice! Lots of news today
  • Now, I can't help but go back to Dev Preview again. ;)
  • Awesome :D So... Is there an OTA update to enable this or?
  • next week preview
  • What will be the name of Cortana for India
  • Cortana obviously.
  • Haha they better keep Cortana. Any other name will suck.
  • Cortinda :D
  • hahaha
  • And Courtney for UK :|
  • Cozza for Australia? :D
  • Savitha
  • Katrina? (voiced by Katrina kaif) .... Ooh *^^*
  • Oh hell noo. Let it be Jen Taylor.
  • Hahaha.... Awesome....
  • I hope not. Can't stand her.
  • why not RAJNIKANTH   or CHITTI
  • +520
  • Nagina :')
  • Lol
  • Wp8.1 update 1 is the better news
  • Sucks that the UK people will lose Jen Taylor's voice. At least for the Halo fans I know in that population. And why is the BPL for the UK only? I would love that hear in the States.
  • Its not that BPL for UK.. It is that Cortana now knows what BPL is.. Wish she also knows what IPL is..
  • Sorry but I'd much appreciate it if you could tell me what does BPL and IPL mean please? Thanks.
  • *inform=indian
  • ?
  • BPL = Barclays Premier League or English Premier League (English league for Soccer clubs) IPL = Indian Premier League (Indian league for T20 Cricket) They are the top domestic sporting events in the respective countries.
  • Ah... thanks! :D
  • I guess British premier league for football and inform premier league for cricket sports
  • Cheers bud!
  • The 'using language models from the US and UK' for those in Canada, India and Australia should hopefully mean it's switchable. Unless they've just decided Canada gets the US Cortana while India/Aus get the UK one.
  • It will be switchable. We will have the option to change our language to English(US) or English(UK) and Cortana will work accordingly. At least that is what I think.
  • Seems legit
  • UK: replace all punctuation with 'innit' Canada: replace all punctuation with 'eh' Australia: replace all punctuation with 'mate' There, all done.
  • C姐居然变猪鼻,强烈愤慨! I've decided to keep using the English Cortana in regards of the ugly snout-like Chinese Cortana.
  • U can choose the image of Cortana or Xiao na actually
  • Isn't she looking cute.
  • Not at all, I perfer halo ring
  • 你可以自己改的.. You can switch different looks in the Cortana settings.
  • How can we opt for it in india..
  • After GDR1 preview.
  • We need developer preview to opt for that cant we only opt for developer preview of gdr1 only
  • If you are enrolled in the Dev Preview program and install the GDR1 next week, Cortana for India will be available. However, it will be your choice if you wanna enable/use her or not.
  • Does Ireland come under the Uk or what ??
  • I wouldn't think so. Microsoft usually treats Ireland separately from the UK when it announces things so they probably would have done the same thing here.
  • Did you do history in school? ;)
  • You mean geography?
  • It's not about geography, it's about political history.
  • "Its not about political history. Its about sending a message. This world deserves a better class of personal voice assistants and MS is gonna give it to them."
  • I'll believe it when I see "UK" Cortana direct me to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.
  • I know we're not in Uk obviously haha but we speak the same language and I don't see why not like ?
  • Will need the Welsh variant for that.... lol
  • Probably. But it's just the name of a town in the UK. Is this Cortana UK or Cortana England?
  • I wonder what the scottish have to say to this... oh, they are voting about it as we speak :-D
  • :D @ luffy
  • Why not allow those who are interested to opt-in to the "early adaptor program", why only India, Australia, and Canada?
  • So... How do we ujs actually get this...
  • Ditto. UK 930 on 8.1 with Cyan?
  • Official video of the lumia 530 https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=T663YbyHzDY
  • When they have planned for this early adoption program? Already kicked in?
  • Ok how do uk get this
  • Hmm nothing about spanish Cortana u.u i really hope that after this countries have beta and Alfa version the next one in the list be some Latin American country like my loved Mexico :3 or at least Spain for been able to use Cortana in Spanish :P
  • Sería muy interesante oír a Cortana en español, lo único malo es que con cuatro meses de uso ya me acostumbre a la Cortana gringa :p Espero que hagan una buena elección de la voz en nuestro idioma. And we need the option to set the forecast in Celsius.
  • :O oooo jajaa casi no comento aquí pero cada vez que lo hago me responde un compatriota (/•-•)/ jaja xD Y si espero que escojan una buena voz, lo optimo seria la voz original de Cortana en español (no tengo idea quien la dobla :P) pero si no al menos una parecida. And yes we need Celsius!! :P
  • This brought a big smile on my face, they are really listening to the users, welcome Cortana to India
  • This is why China raided the Microsoft offices for.
  • Can we opt for this after official cyan update..
  • I don't see it anywhere. But then again its uk
  • Me neither. Apparently we get it with wp8.1.1.... But I don't see it in the article.
  • This was my question too, the impression from the article is Cortana now available in the UK but its not showing in the store.
  • Zzzzzzzzzzz
  • Why a "localised" accent for the U.K pretty much no one has the stereotypical accent there
  • What! Everyone speaks the Queens English here old chap :-/s
  • Yeah, bloody oath mate! (Australia) :S
  • How about Cortana using the phone's regional format. I want to use US language Cortana with Celsius temperatures and Monday as the first day of the week.
  • Woohoo (when u say British accent I assume you mean an English one?)
  • Finally MS means bussiness first they brought live lock screen to 512mb devices now GDR 1 and cortana to more countries . Better from MS than playing the waiting game to get every feature to be inch perfect to be rolled out
  • Can't wait to switch region to UK.  Can't wait to get all weathers and data in Metric values. Cortana can always answer "where am I?" since a month ago, even though I'm using it in SIngapore.  And she will also pull up a map location. And I really like getting the direction home by saying "let's go home", or "get me home"
  • The only problem is that I don't want to pay for my apps in the most expensive currency available.
  • Actually I don't think you can buy apps if you are not logged into your own country's app store or have the country's credit card for payment. So I buy the apps I need from Windows Phone Singapore and switch my region to USA so I could use cortana.
  • You're wrong. I buy all my apps within the US marketplace, even though I live in Sweden. This way I always get to pay in dollars which comes cheaper for me. I use PayPal to pay with but you can buy Microsoft Gift Cards online to charge your account instead of using credit cards and pay with them instead.
  • Good to know.  I have to switch my payment method.  My paypal got log into the Singapore store for some reason.  And I cannot add it to the US store.  I may be doing something wrong...hmmm
  • My PayPal is Swedish. Just go to your wallet app and add PayPal as a payment method.
  • Great. Thanks!
  • Did you get it fixed?
  • No I can't. Paypal app is not even available on my wallet app.  This is so weird. I tried to do it online in my windows phone account and it's asking me for a US paypal address.
  • You might want to put in a fake address then. Not like it really matters. Just think of an address and look up a US area code, 90201 for example which should be Bell Garden, CA
  • Haha +925 in Aus ;)
  • I just checked.  Doesn't work for me.  With Paypal, it requires a USA address for payment info.   You have a US address connected to your paypal account?
  • Got a Swedish address on my PayPam, otherwise I can't link my Swedish card to it. It's weird that this is happening to you, usually, it just asks for PayPal email and password and if you have one, it should work with just this and nothing else.
  •  how can I opt-in for alpha Indian cortana version.
  • Next week with GDR1.
  • Well, the Alpha program gives me a little bit hope that roll out will go faster then we might have tought.
  • It does suggest in the article that Microsoft is responding to the massive pressure of users demanding Cortana in any state, Alpha, Beta or Omega.... Unlike some have opined I would be happier with a buggy alpha/beta version than no version at all.
  • MSFT offices in China get raided as part of an 'anti-competition' investigation and then MSFT launch Cortana there... Does anyone find that odd?
  • Microsoft just making them look bad.
  • We tend to like a person who mis behave well...
  • New Zealand is a small island in Australia right?
  • Yep. Probably get NZ support later this year or net year, since NZ is a first world country
  • We still don't have MixRadio or the My Commute function in HERE Drive+, so when (or if) we get Cortana would be anyone's guess. 
  • Ffs New Zealand is a separate country from Australia I live there haha
  • Australia here. How do we "opt-in"
  • GDR1 preview next week.
  • How do we get 8.1 first?
  • join the developers preview program, its free
  • Its time to change the region back to India from US ;)
  • What a news.......... So excited..
  • Love it .
  • Would be nice to get the 8.1 update on my 925 on 3 in the uk to enable me to get cortana. Come on 3, what's the hold up. It's available on Vodaphone and O2.
  • Russian please!
  • Arriving next week !! Why do I not believe them
  • Were you on about 3?
  • Microsoft weeks are special. They're based on Venus days.
  • Hopefully an Australian alpha means NZ isn't far off?
  • Cortana.....welcome to India.don't worry about Hindi I don't know it either..
  • Canada is literally the exact same as the US... Why the hell are we put in the "Alpha" zone that is for places that don't use English very much? Then China and the UK gets the Beta... Like seriously...
  • Alpha is for places that don't use English very much.....Really? That's why we are in Alpha with Australia? We have 2 official languages, English and French. You may not think so, but that's the case. 
  • So I guess I have to switch to UK Marketplace if I want to use the UK version of Cortana?
  • How to opt for the uk version of cortana
  • Maaaybe they'll get Hindi localization? No?
  • Norway = 2016
  • So, this means all the devices with UK ROMs will have Cortana next week, independent of the region?. I ask this because all the Lumia 1520 sell in Spain (like mine) are from UK.....
  • Cortana doesn't depend on ROM. Just a simple region and language switch will enable/disable her.
  • good to know that they announced it for India
  • I hate these announcements about something that will happen soon. IOS announce an update and bam its there. I would prefer if Joe had left this announcement until next week when the dam thing is available. Its like the Lumia 930 announced then available 3 months later....
  • Think it out the other way, when Microsoft has to release something, they announce it earlier. But apple announces only when it's releasing it. And don't cry about these pity things
  • Joe couldnt leave the announcement until next week, as that would have been outside the original pledge of 'less than two weeks'. Although, technically, they have failed to deliver on time again (8.1 preview, anyone?) at least he made a statement within the deadline, which is one better than last time I guess... I do agree it was nice. back when I had an ipad, that Apple would have a showcase event for the latest update and people then asked "when can I download it?" the answer was "right now".....
  • They have failed to deliver again and now it's been pushed to next week. My bets are that it's delayed again... this is the true microsoft way.
  • How about Japan?
  • If we update to 8.1 gdr1 can we still update to Cyan firmware when it arrived??
  • Yes. Once they fix the bitlocker issue and resume Cyan rollout for DP-enrolled devices.
  • So basically just wait again. I was under the impression that it was to be available before the end of the month. So what the story should actually have been is that there would be an announcement before the end of the month......that cortana will be available in UK and China soon. Please just announce it the day it becomes available no one likes waiting.
  • On fire. It was just last week I was panning Microsoft for not having Cortana in Australia. They are starting to flood their products with updates all round. Now for them to bring the peak feature to my 930. Miss that from my 1020, along with the camera.
  • When Cortana coming to India.....
    Any month???
  • Next week
  • My cortana read portuguese very well better than some portuguese guys loool. I don't know why they don't lunch worldwide. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • It doesn't make sense that we have to wait for update 1 for developers only when it works in the UK if you change regions on the phone.
  • And spanish??? I hope not mid 2015
  • How do I get it in Ireland again? Will the store work when I do it for things?
  • Does the Australian version come to the 8.1 DP? If not, is it really necessary to downgrade for the official update?
    Cheers
  • I'm totally amazed by the quality of Microsoft's latest works and speed. Wish it would be available for all platforms in the future.
  • Finally i will be able to switch to a region that has it's weather in celsius & uses kilometers instead of miles. Also if Australia is getting Cortana hopefully it means New Zealand won't be far behind.
  • How do we get this in UK? It does say now right?
  • Yaaaaasssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • So apparently you all say its coming in gdr1 but what about users in the UK who have received the cyan update and are not in the preview for developers program? I have a few friends with Lumia 625's who are buzzing for cortana
  • I'm a Chinese,and I really expect 小娜
  • I think Aussies should have gone straight to beta though as its not like we speak pigeon English lol but I guess u cant always get what u want
  • It's about language not country English and Chinese are used by more people than Portuguese They'll work their way down the list of language I guess
  • I think for Australia it's about services over language What's Bing like in Oz? Keep in mind how reliant Cortana is on having Bing
  • How to opt-in for the Aussie alpha?
  • Tbh I find Bing to be excellent in Australia. I have not had any issues with it and find myself confused when people say its shocking outside of the US. Its been great :)
  • +925 ;)
  • Canada mean french or just English ?
  • English only for now
  • Can't wait to change my region settings back to UK!
  • How to "opt-in" for the Aussie alpha?
  • Maybe changing settings back to Australia might do the trick?
  • Two this lead me to believe there's more. 1) they call it "opt-in", and 2) I changed away from US to Oz in my settings already.
  • Nothing yet... Tried a few combinations of region/language etc... No luck on a 930 with 8.1cyan and a 925 on 8.1 dp ;)
  • We are getting cortana with wp8.1 in India, great but how can anyone elaborate?
    Like now we have to change language & region both or now only language?
    When it will available in India as alpha Cortana
  • Next week with update 1 for wp8.1
  • Can anyone elaborate that how can Indian Users get cortana now?
  • Next week with update 1 for wp8.1 via dp
  • What about Russia?
  • Not excited, had to change region to Zimbabwe from Australia; damn kotana. Nowhere to run to next time!
  • From day one she answers my where am I question
  • Cortana in Australia!!! Yes! Changing back right now!
  • What about neighbours of China & India?? Specifically Pakistan.. :)
  • Ek hi baat hai, region India kar lena :)
  • Ahaha.. Wah boss kia idea dia hai!! ;)
  • Changed my region and language to UK but no Cortana... Why?
  • Probably because you didn't read the bit in the article or the previous comments about when it will be available. Hint: Not this week.
  • What about Ireland ?
  • How can get Cortana on my Nokia Lumia 925? I live in the UK.
  • How to get alpha?
  • How to get alphaaaaa????? Please tell me someone
  • Become a Microsoft employee
  • Dear Microsoft, please double check if she can tell cricket scores before releasing in India.
  • Yeah much needed for indian fans
  • It will be a real headache to create one for India...:)
  • Why not create one for every English accent with a strong first language influence. It's a bit interesting, like ask to have Cortana understand my bad English influenced Chinese.
  • Im in the UK and changed for updates, opt in for preview updates but no updates and no cortana? Why?
  • Cos it's not available yet. As per the article saying that it might come next week. But bear in mind it's Microsoft saying that, so it's unlikely to happen that soon.
  • So many English accents in India, how will it cope up?! I will hail Cortana as the revolutionary voice assistant if it responds accurately to Lalu Prasad Yadav....
  • Lolwa
  • http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/07/microsofts-cortana-voice-assistant-wil... According to Gizmodo, the Australian alpha release isn't until next week. "When Microsoft launched its Cortana voice recognition assistant for Windows Phone at Build earlier this year, we were disappointed that it wasn’t available in Australia. That will change soon: as of next week, an alpha version of Cortana for Australia will become available to Windows Phone Developers." [read more, check link].
  • I saw the question elsewhere already but no answer - if I have a lumia 630, with Cyan and 8.1 already, will enabling the developer preview still work, or will the newer devices have to wait for the public release?
  • There are also miles in the UK. Cannot wait for Ireland localization
  • Not for UK????
  • This article really isn't clear - it implies available UK and China now. However if you follow the source to the Windows Blog, you see it clearly mentions that Cortana is connected to new update due some time next week. "This update has some great new features for everyone around the world, and in particular we also included some that were completely customized for and by people in China. I’m going to tell you about a couple of the new features in this update." It then goes onto list features:- "Cortana: We have been thrilled by the excitement around Cortana in Windows Phone 8.1. And we’re excited to make her available for people in China and the UK with this update as a “beta” and in Canada, India, and Australia as an “alpha”." Hope that clears things up for availabilty in UK.        
  • I just hope i can keep Jen Taylor in the UK. Im still on 8.1 Dev Preview as Cyan not on my handset yet. I always preferred "Jane" British accent for TomTom.. but for Cortana it has to be the real deal. Will be mightily deflated if i get some British substitute.
  • My sincere thanks to Cortana team in bringing English 'Alpha' version to India. A suggestion to Cortana team for Hindi. I am qualified to give suggestions for localization to Hindi becuase I have worked in bringing Indic Languages to computers from MSDOS to Windows for Workgroups. 1) Input for Indic langauges is difficult because of conjuncts. Only few people onderstand how to use the keyboard becuase they tend to make mistakes in entering conjuncts. How many of even educated Hindi knowing Indians would know ‘ज्ञ’ glyph has ‘ज’, ‘‍्’, ‘ञ’ to input?. Even Hinglish input is a hit or miss. 2) For Hindi Input (or for that matter Any Indic script or Urdu) Cortana WILL BECOME THE DE FACTO DICTATION ENGINE, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. It is better to give Cortana dictation abilities or have a dictation engine linked to Cortana. Indians are very price concious also and may not want to use online resource for dictation so if Cortana (or dictation engine) can be used offline for dictation, it would be better.  
  • Can India users get cortana by changing region and language like US?
  • So if I'm using UK as my language settings (because there is no South African English language settings), will I be able to start getting Cortana or must I wait for "Cortana is released in Africa". Tried swopping to US, but Cortana doesn't get my accent...
  • I am guessing if Cortana doesn't understand your accent when you use US, I doubt UK will either. I travel to ZA quite often and have many colleagues from ZA, but even i struggle a lot with the accent. US and Canada is really easy, NZ and Australia is also easy, but ZA can be really hard for a human, must be really hard for machine too.
  • Its possible for india users to get US cortana by changing region and language as US. But with UK its not working for getting UK cortana.
  • We want Cortana in Hindi in India & we are ready to wait for it if it takes time but until that we are happy to see it here at least in alpha stage.
  • I just changed my region to Canada only to find Cortana disappeared :(
  • Is the UK's sports data just the Premier League? Really, really disappointing if so.
  • I didn't expect so many like the new face...
  • Good news shame about a complete lack of actual release dates. So is it Update 1 and Cortana next week, or Cortana next week, or Cortana is released now... Its China only this week and UK the next or UK this week China the next... Damned annoying news without any actual news at least based on the subject line, of course unless we take it this was the first time Microsoft announced Cortana for the UK (Possibly officially).
  • Ok, deep breaths.  UK and China will receive localised versions of Cortana in beta form with the release of WP8.1 Update 1.  If you are in the Developer Preview programme, Update 1 will be released next week.    For everyone else, well, seeing as 8.1 is still in the early stages of being rolled out, it's too early to say when Update 1 will reach the masses.  But the effect will be that early adopters will be in receipt of 8.1 Update 1 whilst at the same time, many others, will still be salivating on 8.0.
  • Umm I changed my HTC 8S to UK but cortana won't appear, everything's on UK in the settings.. Anyone have a clue?
  • Maybe I missed it, but how does someone in Australia get into the alpha?
  • Next week the UK and China will receive the beta version of Cortana as well as GDR1. This will only be for phones running the Developer Preview. If you are not running the Developer Preview you will not receive either next week. Cortana will not be available for phones running the RTM Windows Phone 8.1 for a couple of months as it is still in beta and it will be tested through the DP programme. The other countries mentioned can opt in to the pre-beta from next week as long as they too are running the Developer Preview. This is from the Windows Phone blog. When can I get the Windows Phone 8.1 Update? If you’re already on the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers then this update should be rolling out next week. The Windows Phone 8.1 Update will roll out to consumers with devices running Windows Phone 8.1 in the coming months.
  • Has anyone gotten Cortana to work in the UK?
  • Just read Jacja's post. Got it thanks
  • Is cortana now available in the UK?
  • No, it is being released alongside WP8.1 Update 1.  Update 1 is being released early to those that are in the Developer Preview programme at some point next week.
  • So really its not being released next week for general users, only those in the preview program. Plain users of Lumia 630's and 930's won't get it despite having Windows Phone 8.1
  • I would be more than happy to address Cortana in Australian English and be responded to in American English... As long as she knows the metric system ;) 99.9 % of the time there is no difference anyway.
  • How to use Xiao in India ?????
  • We want English opt-in possibility in Europe too!!
  • How do I opt in the alpha program ?
  • Hopefully this alpha program will get released in Mexico or other Spanish speaking countries in the near future.
  • India!
  • So how do I get cortana in the UK ? Or do I still have to change region etc to USA?
  • How does the alpha program differ from the beta and the final Cortana?
  • More awesome news! Come on, announce a 1020 successor, please!
  • What is Alpha
  • Just roll out Cortana for all countries. Whats stopping? Not in my language? I'll just use English then.
  • Ok, so if I read that right, I can now invoke Cortana over my Bluetooth by saying 'call Cortana', but how would I be able to do that if my cats system does not support a shared contract list and everything is added individually? Anyone know if there is a way around that? (is this functionality something that has already been added, or will be ahead on next update?) that's the best Cortana news I've heard yet, as she is absolutely useless where I need her most.... The car!
  • So what do Canadians have to do exactly?
  • If I change my language now from US to UK English will Cortana work immediatly? Or is this addition going to be available after Update 1?
  • “Cortana hands-free in your car for phones connected to car Bluetooth kits that are integrated with your contacts list (If your car kit is integrated with your contacts, you can now treat Cortana as a contact to invoke her, simply saying "Call Cortana" and then talking to her as you normally would.)”    Thank you for clearing that up. With this being implemented, how far is voice activation away from being a reality? I really would like to be able to just say “Cortana, initiate” or something like that to activate her without touching my phone at all and have her respond to my voice only.
  • How do we opt in to Alpha? Change our region back to our home region?
  • LOL I won't hold my breathe :D 8.1 hasn't even arrived in Australia yet for most Windows phones.
  • I want Cortana in Portuguese of Brazil..... Pleease 
  • Help - How do you opt in to alpha Cortana in Canada. ?
  • If I change my region to China, will I get Xiao Na? And is Hong Kong part of this?
  • I have updated my Lumia 720 with the windows 8.1 update. But I am unable to get Cortana after changing my speech settings to English uk. Any ideas as to how to get the alpha version of Cortana in India?
  • When will Cortana come in India? Any idea???
  • I use Cortana on a UK 1520 by the usual method of changing the region and language in settings, anyone know if Denim update will ignore me owing to the 'incorrect' settings?  Thanks
  • Cortana for Lumia 520 India???