We’ve been hearing rumors in the past about Microsoft working on a device called “Home Hub” that shared the same characteristics of Amazon Echo and Google Home, but unfortunately the rumors turn out not to be accurate.
However, the rumors weren’t totally false either, as it seems that Microsoft is indeed working on a “Home Hub”, but it’s not a standalone device, instead it’s a feature coming to Windows 10.
On a new report from Windows Central reveals that Microsoft is working on a new feature for Windows 10 carrying the “Home Hub” name to have computers play a more central role in the home.
The idea with the new feature is to make the PC on the home easy to share with family members and easy for users to share content with the family.
Currently, anyone can use a computer using their personal account, but Microsoft’s Home Hub will add a “family account” that will allow users to access certain features without having to sign-in. Some of these features, include a specific set of apps, shared calendar, appointments, documents, and more.
The new feature will also have a Welcome Screen, which is meant to surface the family shared resources to make them easily accessible. The Welcome Screen will run on top of the desktop, and Cortana will also play a bigger role by being always listening and ready to assist, including with new features part of the “FamTana” project that makes the assistant more user-friendly.
Although the rumor suggests that Microsoft has no plans to create a standalone device, it’ll not stop third-party hardware makers from building Home Hub devices. However, the company wants hardware manufacturers to build the new feature around all-in-one and 2-in-1 devices, as the idea is to make the PC a central piece of the home (think of it as a home computer server).
Perhaps one of the biggest features of Microsoft’s Home Hub is the ability to transform your Windows 10 PC into a hub for all your connected devices. The report also notes that Microsoft is building a “Connected Home” app to make easier to add and control smart devices around the house, including lights, doors, thermostats, and more, and it’ll support different type of sensors too.
While the new Home Hub experience will run on existing hardware, you’ll need a new computer or additional accessories to take advantage of more advanced features.
As with any rumor things could always change, but this rumor seems that it might actually happen, as an additional report from ZDNet also points out that Microsoft has a new “Family Team” in the Windows and Devices Group, and the company also is actively looking for software engineers to join the team.
ZDNet’s also notes that in addition to Cortana, Skype, Microsoft’s Bots, and Azure will be also part of the Home Hub strategy.
Additionally, to further fuel this rumor, recently Twitter user @h0x0d has discovered reference of Home Hub in the Insider Preview builds of the Windows 10 Creators Update, which confirms the project is actually a feature and not a physical device.
Microsoft has been working on Home Hub for quite a while, and if the Windows Central information materialize, we’re going to start to see part of the new experience in the Windows 10 Creators Update, Redstone 3 by the end of 2017, and Redstone 4 arriving sometime in 2018.
What do you think about this new experience? What do you like to see? Tell us in the comments below.