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Leak shows Microsoft's vision for Echo-like Windows PCs

Your computer would become your family's hub.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
May 9, 2017
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The Verge

Remember when word got out for Microsoft's Home Hub, a Windows 10 update that would effectively turn your PC into a souped-up Amazon Echo with shared info, across-the-room voice control and home automation? You now have an idea as to what it'll look like in practice. The Verge has obtained leaked conceptual images showing just what Home Hub will do. Sure enough, the welcome screen now has an always-available view of the family's calendar, notes and other collective knowledge. If your child has ballet practice, everyone will know. There's also a shared desktop, simple voice calling and smart home control for key devices (Hue, Insteon, Nest, SmartThings and Wink are on the short list).

The earlier leak had already claimed that Microsoft was working with hardware vendors (including HP and Lenovo) to produce Home Hub-oriented PCs. However, the new leak points to Microsoft shipping the feature as part of the next big Windows 10 update, which supposedly arrives in September. Don't be surprised if Microsoft talks about the feature alongside the Windows 10 update at its Build conference on May 10th.

This is something of a gamble for Microsoft. After all, even the most affordable PCs tend to be considerably more expensive (not to mention more complex) than an Echo or Google Home. Even the $230 Echo Show could be more affordable. However, there's certainly pressure to do something in the smart hub space beyond enabling Cortana-equipped speakers. If this market moves to higher-end devices and Microsoft does nothing, it risks being left by the wayside in the battle for your home.

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