Microsoft Sets Sights On Amazon Echo

By Gizmodo UK on at

You may have seen the Amazon Echo adverts already - they're the strangely uncomfortable ones where a disembodied voice asks a magical tube to add things to their shopping list, and various other mundane tasks that they can't do because they're too busy using their hands to do human things.

Now it looks like Microsoft will be making an entrance into the market, according to Windows Central –and it's called Home Hub.

Rather than the Amazon Echo's perky, but not-always-that-helpful Alexa, the Microsoft Home Hub will feature Cortana, the voice-activated assistant from Halo who's already integrated into Windows 10.

According to the report, the Home Hub won't come as a piece of dedicated hardware, but will instead be "designed to make your PC the centre of your home". For now, the Home Hub is purely a piece of software that can pull together appointments, meetings, family info and documents for when you need them.

The Home Hub Cortana concept, from Windows Central.

The main change that Home Hub will make to Windows 10 products is letting anyone sign into a family PC without having to change accounts. On top of each individual account there will be one "family account" that is always logged in, letting anyone within that group have access to the family's calendars, documents and apps. Anything not on that account is kept private for each individual.

Basically, what the Home Hub will apparently offer is one, large, shared account across a family or group of people, that brings together all the information you need to know while keeping your personal life separate. It's no magical smart-speaker that you can yell instructions at from the kitchen, but it's still a move towards the smart, tech-integrated homes of the future.

However, there is some bad news–they've redesigned Cortana for the Home Hub–dubbing her new, family-friendly (and orange) look as "FamTana". Oh dear. [Windows Central]