Microsoft is working to turn your PC into a Cortana-controlled Home Hub

The Redmond home cometh
Microsoft's Home Hub plans leak
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Microsoft wants to take on the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers with a new Cortana-controlled Home Hub app for Windows machines.

That's according to a Windows Central report, based on multiple secret sources. The latest leaks into Microsoft's ambitious smart home plans are saying that we shouldn't expect new hardware but instead a new app for Windows as well as future, compatible third party devices.

Read this: Amazon Echo 2 vs Google Home

The Home Hub app will run on PCs as well as 2-in-1 hybrids like the Surface series. The platform is designed to be more accessible than voice-only smart home gadgets thanks to a "virtual fridge door"-style Welcome Screen. It's worth noting too that we're expecting an Amazon Echo 2 with a large touchscreen, according to rumours.

Microsoft's voice assistant, Cortana, will be always-on and accessible from the lockscreen, from close to the device or across the room.

Plus in a feature codenamed FamTana - great name - Cortana will be able to respond to the whole family, not just one account, for controlling music, smart home gadgets and handling shared calendars.

For home automation, there will be a separate Connected Home app where Home Hub users can control devices like Philips Hue, group rooms and whatnot.

There's no details on an Echo-style speaker but Microsoft is reportedly in talks with the likes of HP and Lenovo to make Home Hub all-in-one PCs by late 2017. More Home Hub gadgets should follow after that.

Microsoft has not only Amazon and Google to compete with but also Apple HomeKit and Siri. Still, by turning existing computers into a home hub rather than asking us to splash out on a new connected toy, it could end up with a decent slice of the pie.


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