The idea of a smart home speaker coming from Microsoft has been floating around for quite a while now. Initial rumors suggested the Microsoft Home Hub platform is a piece of hardware that would rival Google Home and Amazon Echo. New reports, however, indicate otherwise.
Citing sources familiar with Microsoft’s plan, Windows Central’s Zac Bowden reports the Microsoft Home Hub as a Windows 10 software service that targets families with shared PCs for a more connected home. Although it appears like a rising rival to Amazon Echo and Google Home, Microsoft Home Hub introduces a twist to the game: It’s actually software.
Home Hub will work with Cortana
As a smart digital assistant, Cortana already offers solutions to various end-user needs. Microsoft Home Hub will work with Cortana to redefine the concept of a digital assistant. The Home Hub software will also use an app complete with features including shopping lists, sticky notes, and calendar appointments.
While Windows Central’s report is more speculative than factual, it notes that Home Hub will run on Windows 10 PCs and other machines that run Windows 10. From the lockscreen of those machines, users can summon Cortana to obtain information. This concept allows the computer to work like a Google Home or Amazon Echo to answer queries or control the home via Cortana.
All-in-ones to work with Home Hub
It’s also possible that Microsoft could unveil a new device that would work with Home Hub, presumably an all-in-one with a capacitive screen according to the report. Reports also suggest that Microsoft is currently mulling over the development of a Welcome Screen which will display items through a fullscreen interface. As sharing is the core of Home Hub, the Welcome Screen will introduce family members to a shared environment where they can interact.
While Microsoft’s plan could potentially turn the PC into the center of a user’s smart home experience, third-party devices can also work with Home Hub. Still, Home Hub won’t probably take shape until after a few months from now. According to the report, Microsoft plans to roll out the smart home technology in phases next year simultaneously with the release of Redstone 3 and further with Redstone 4 slated for release in 2018.
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