Huawei introduced its own voice assistant with the launch of its P40 series on Thursday. The three phones namely, Huawei P40 5G, Huawei P40 Pro 5G, and Huawei P40 Pro+ 5G come with the new voice assistant called ‘Celia’. Like Google or Apple’s voice assistants, Celia can also be activated by saying ‘Hey Celia’ – a phrase that sounds quite similar to Apple’s ‘Hey Siri’. Now, reports have come up stating that trying to activate Huawei’s voice assistant activates Apple’s as well.
Since Huawei has been banned from working with US companies, including Google, it cannot put any Google software in its phones, meaning no Google Services, no Google Play Store, and no Google Assistant. So, Huawei decided to implement its own voice assistant for the Western market. Celia recognises commands in English, French, and Spanish but the activation phrase ‘Hey Celia’ sounds quite similar to ‘Hey Siri’. Avi Greengart, a tech market analyst, tweeted “Without Google Assistant, @huawei is adding “Celia” voice assistant in English, French, and Spanish. Capabilities are limited, but I can confirm that when you say, “Hey, Celia,” Siri will respond on any nearby Apple device. #HuaweiP40.” It was also pointed out by popular YouTuber Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) in his video about the Huawei P40 Pro where he showed ‘Hey Celia’ activating Siri on an iPhone.
The Huawei P40 series comes with impressive hardware but lacks any Google services which means people, not just Android users, may be hesitant in going in for a Huawei device. Everyone who uses an Android smartphone knows the importance and necessity of Google apps that are baked into the operating system as well as the ones that can be downloaded from the Play Store. Huawei had to create its own store that it’s calling the AppGallery and as stated by the company last month, it has become the third largest app store in the world. It is being used in more than 170 regions and by more than 600 million Huawei device users. In 2019, there were nearly 210 billion downloads from the AppGallery.
Whether or not the impressive hardware and the growing AppGallery would be enough to make people purchase Huawei devices in Western markets, remains to be seen.