Cortana expands to new markets: the UK, China, India, Australia & Canada
Cortana has been available for U.S. users on the Preview program since April 2014. The virtual assistant is now rolling out to all US customers through the WP8.1 / Lumia Cyan update but Cortana is still a ‘US exclusive’ so users living in other countries can’t officially use the assistant unless they trick the system by switching regional and language settings to English (United States) – > read more in our ‘Tips’ section.
Yesterday, Microsoft announced that Cortana will be enabled for all users on the Developers Preview program in 5 additional countries. This is a part of Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 set to roll out to next week.
Cortana will be coming to China and the UK with localization support for these markets, while users in Canada, Australia and India can use an ‘alpha’ version of Cortana without localized content – ‘She’ will work with UK and US language and spelling models.
Microsoft has done a lot on adapting Cortana to the UK and China, but more is needed. Support for Mandarin, regional accents and spellings, local vocabulary, localized content are some of the areas in which Redmond is working today. In the UK, Cortana will have a new British accent, while in China the digital assistant has a new look (cartoon face) and name – ‘Xiao Na’. These local Cortana versions will provide tailored information about traffic, sports, stocks, flights and more.
In addition, Cortana now responds to more questions. She knows your location so you can ask “Where Am?” Other improvements which have been made are: better language support and improved car Bluetooth.
Update 1 for Windows Phone 8.1 will roll out automatically to all smartphones on the Preview program next week. The update will bring some new features such as Live Folders, Apps Corner, new XBOX Music, Store Live Tile, and more.