With connected speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home starting to get more attention in the marketplace, it stands to reason that Microsoft might want to join this trend. However, instead of creating its own standalone product, a new report claims the company will release an update to Windows 10 that would enable any PC with the OS to serve as a connected speaker.
The report comes from Windows Central, citing unnamed sources. The new features are supposedly being referred to under the codename Home Hub, and the report says Microsoft’s idea is to make a Windows 10 PC more helpful for multiple users in a group, like a family. As you might expect, the company’s own Cortana digital assistant will be one of the big features for Home Hub. It will let users speak commands while further away from a PC than current limits, according to the report, along with the ability to control smart devices like thermostats, lights and more.
While each person in a family or group will have his or her own individual access to the PC, Home Hub will reportedly also have an overall “family” account that will offer access to every member for things like calendar alerts, apps and more. There will also be a overall Welcome Screen available, again, for the entire family to access and use on the Home Hub display.
Microsoft is supposedly working with both Lenovo and HP to launch new Windows 10 all-in-one PCs that will have Home Hub enabled features in late 2017. That would seem to suggest that Microsoft wants to officially add Home Hub to the OS in that time frame. However, even if this report is accurate, company plans can and do change behind the scenes. Having said that, the idea of Home Hub being available inside all those millions of Windows 10 PCs could cause Microsoft to leapfrog over all those Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers and take center stage in the connected home space.