Over the past few months, there’s been a couple of rumors regarding Microsoft’s “HomeHub.” According to rumors, the software giant built a Cortana-powered device for your kitchen, similar to Amazon’s Echo speaker and Google’s Home device. We also reported about Microsoft’s Home Hub recently, but details regarding the product have been pretty scarce so far.
Today, a new report provided a closer look at the Microsoft Home Hub. As it turns out, Microsoft is planning something much bigger than just a device powered by Cortana for your kitchen.
With the Home Hub, Microsoft essentially plans on re-innovating a shared PC running Windows 10. Home Hub will allow a family to share a PC between different members in the family, but it’ll provide a streamlined experience. Firstly, HomeHub will apparently have a “family account” which will be always logged in on a PC — and users will be able to access some of the authorized apps and content without a password.
“Family Enabled Apps” is basically Kids Corner 2.0
From the main account, all users can access the Family Desktop which will have “Family Enabled Apps” — these are basically apps that are enabled to be used without a password, and allow family members to share data. This feature does, indeed, sound a lot like Windows Phone’s Kids Corner features. It is worth noting that members of a family will also have different accounts on the same PC with content which is only accessible by themselves — and they’ll be able to log in very easily with Windows Hello.
Another substantial part of HomeHub is expected to be the “Welcome Screen”. This feature will simply a shared workspace with an overview of your day in the desktop which includes details regarding your upcoming appointment, sticky notes, to-do lists — and it’ll be accessible to everyone in the family.
“FamTana” will allow Cortana to work with multiple users on a shared family PC
Home Hub features will also be integrated into Cortana — which is apparently codenamed “FamTana” (Family Cortana). This feature will basically be able to distinguish between different members of the family, and it’ll be interact with users based on their personal details. For instance, it will be able to provide details from a certain user’s Notebook in the family. Another app Microsoft is working on is called the “Connected Home” which will be a hub for all of the smart devices in your home — this includes smart bulbs, locks, and other smart home devices.
Devices powered by Home Hub will arrive as early as late-2017
All Windows 10 PCs should theoretically be able to run Home Hub, and they should also come with the full Windows 10 PC experience. However, Microsoft is apparently in talks with its OEM partners regarding All-In-One devices designed “specifically for Home Hub” which could arrive in late 2017.
From the looks of things, Microsoft has a lot of huge things planned for Home Hub. The software giant is clearly working on a big project here, so it’ll be quite interesting to see if it succeeds. Keep in mind that things are still under development, so some of the mentioned features may not even show up in the future. If Microsoft decides to go ahead with Home Hub, users should be able to enjoy the full-fledged experience in 2018 — but early versions of the feature and devices powered by Home Hub should arrive in 2017.