With the Home Hub feature, Microsoft is planning to make the Windows 10 desktop more focused on families, posing a definite challenge to Echo and Google Home, the home assistant devices of Amazon and Google respectively.
Walking Cat, a Twitter user, has noted a reference to the Home Hub that seems to take the Windows 10 features in new directions. The usual individual account will still be available on a shared device. In addition, the new feature Home Hub, will allow addition accounts, known as the Family Account and Desktop. The additional account comes with its own set of features, like music and pictures as well as calendar and so on, which are shared by many members and used by any of them.
Mary Jo Foley connected this discovery to some job postings made in November by Microsoft, when the company mentioned its goal of building sharing features for the entire family in Windows and also its aim of competing with similar family sharing devices from Google and Amazon, along with Apple and AT&T.
Some sources that have contacted Windows Central have come up with additional information regarding the new Home Hub feature. Earlier, Microsoft had already laid the groundwork for the new Home Hub, with the ability of using Cortana from lockscreen. This feature was added in the summer update. However, the major features of the Home Hub will come in the form of updates known as Redstone3 releasing in late 2017 and Redstone 4 releasing in 2018.
The welcome screen will probably see a change and will show features like appointments and sticky notes as well as to do lists or other such information that is typically shared within a family. This will be available on the welcome screen, so even if the device is locked, it can be viewed.
Cortana is Family Enabled
Cortana will become family enabled, with the digital assistant coming in family mode. It is now known as FamTana in inner circles. The assistant will offer responses to requests like the weather or headlines. It can also access shared music or calendars, with authenticated users being allowed to use their private data as well with the assistant.
Comparison with Alexa
If you are wondering if there is any difference between Amazon’s Echo and Microsoft’s new Home Hub family assistant, Microsoft is considering a traditional desktop as the hub of activities. The desktop will come with features of biometric authentication as well as microphones. However, the device will have a head and a screen along with a voice, unlike Echo. This will result in Home Hub being more costly, especially for those who wish to have access in several rooms of the house, as desktops have more hardware compared to adding another Echo.
However, it seems natural to talk to Alexa, as this is the only way of using the assistant. Alexa is in a box with microphone and speaker and this is the only means of communicating with her. However, Cortana comes with a screen, has a desktop, mouse and the keyboard, so users tend to use all these rather than just a voice input.