Microsoft’s Home Hub Is Not A Cortana Cube


Leading up to the October 26th Microsoft event, the name ‘Home Hub’ popped up and many, myself included, had hoped that it would be an Amazon Echo/Google Home type device. As that event came and went, my dream of a Cortana Cube was shattered but the Home Hub name still piqued my interest.

The good news is, we now know what Home Hub is, the bad news is that it is not in any way related to Cortana Cube. Information about the meaning of Home Hub has been uncovered by Walking Cat and it’s about making the PC more family friendly.

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday — and get free copies of Paul Thurrott's Windows 11 and Windows 10 Field Guides (normally $9.99) as a special welcome gift!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

According to the information he was able to uncover, Home Hub allows you and your family to access common tasks without logging in, such as calendars, lists, music and more. That noise you hear is the helium being let out of the balloon; this feature actually sounds like Kids Corner that was in Windows Phone.

The lack of a Cortana cube is a missed opportunity by Microsoft to maximize the value of AI assistant with consumers. It’s possible the company could build a device like this but with each passing day, Amazon and now Google are able to push further ahead with their devices (and more importantly the ecosystem of third-party extensions) which means it’s harder for Microsoft to catch-up.

Tagged with

Share post

Please check our Community Guidelines before commenting

Conversation 23 comments

  • 1217

    22 November, 2016 - 2:58 pm

    <p>Sounds like a good use-case for developing something with Win10 IoT and a machined case. &nbsp;;) &nbsp;I may have to try this after Home Hub goes GA.</p>

  • 127

    Premium Member
    22 November, 2016 - 3:00 pm

    <p>Microsoft should make a dedicated ‘kids corner’ PC with Cortana &nbsp;integration. Allowing anyone in the family to use it. Think Echo inside a PC touchscreen form factor&nbsp;</p>

  • 1129

    22 November, 2016 - 3:05 pm

    <p>How would this exclude the Cube? &nbsp;Seems like the problem of being pegged to one account like Echo or Google Home is being resolved. &nbsp;The underlying sync to all devices as well. &nbsp;I would say that this elevates the potential for the existence of the cube.&nbsp;</p>

    • 1561

      Premium Member
      22 November, 2016 - 4:36 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#26848">In reply to </a><a href="../../../users/Fusciacastle">Fusciacastle</a><a href="#26848">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>You’re right. This certainly doesn’t exclude there being a Cortana Cube somewhere on the horizon, but it feels like celebrating the successful launch of our hot air balloon when the other team is already on their way to Mars.</p>

    • 277

      Premium Member
      23 November, 2016 - 9:54 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#26848">In reply to </a><a href="../../../users/Fusciacastle">Fusciacastle</a><a href="#26848">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <blockquote><em>I agree, &nbsp;but where is it? &nbsp; If they wait any longer the market will be cornered. &nbsp; Unless they can bring something new or signicantly better, it might be too late already.&nbsp;</em></blockquote>

  • 907

    22 November, 2016 - 3:46 pm

    <p>I don’t use Groove so I’m not familiar with how it works. I do wonder though if this is a service that includes music that the whole family can access could that raise the possibility of a Groove Family Plan being offered soon? I’m probably clutching at straws but who knows, maybe :)</p>

  • 6844

    22 November, 2016 - 4:41 pm

    <p>Hey Cortana…Remind me to wonder why Microsoft keeps missing the boat. Oh wait, I don’t talk to my PC and Cortana isn’t available in my country. Oh well.</p>

  • 5554

    22 November, 2016 - 6:36 pm

    <p>Nobody’s clamoring for a Cortana standalone device because nobody uses Cortana. &nbsp; And certainly not anyone outside the U.S. since Microsoft can’t be bothered with international support.</p>

    • 2063

      22 November, 2016 - 7:26 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#26898">In reply to </a><a href="../../../users/PeteB">PeteB</a><a href="#26898">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>I use Cortana and I’m not in the US.</p>

    • 8665

      25 November, 2016 - 1:33 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#26898">In reply to </a><a href="../../../users/PeteB">PeteB</a><a href="#26898">:</a>&nbsp; Personally, I use Cortana all the time and love it.</em></blockquote>

    • 8915

      07 December, 2016 - 2:18 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#26898">In reply to </a><a href="../../../users/PeteB">PeteB</a><a href="#26898">:</a></em></blockquote>
      <p>I use Cortana all the time.&nbsp; It is freely available in many countries on Windows 10 PC versions and Mobile versions.&nbsp; it is only the Android App that is not available overseas.</p>
      <p>I don’t see Google or Apple releasing their assistants at all for Windows Phone.&nbsp; Google Now is not on iOS and Siri is not on Android.&nbsp;</p>
      <p>Microsoft is at least making the effort to get Cortana on other platforms so people have an alternative.</p>

  • 5496

    22 November, 2016 - 7:34 pm

    <p>Microsoft can still come out either echo and google home competitor.</p>
    <p>Google home came out half done. It cannot read your email or calendar.</p>
    <p>do Microsoft will not be late to do it.</p>

  • 206

    22 November, 2016 - 8:35 pm

    <p>I just want an Ergo Audrey style device w/Cortana as the interface. &nbsp;Call it the Borg Cube or whatever you want…but MS is missing the boat.</p>

  • 5394

    22 November, 2016 - 9:22 pm

    <p>You keep saying Microsoft is losing to the competition. That’s only if you believe Microsoft can compete on eCommerce and Music/Video like Amazon or Apps like Google with its very popular Youtube and Maps. Microsoft only has Cortana and games to offer and little of anything else that people might need. Besides, Microsoft hasn’t rolled out Cortana in many markets despite working on this for many years. I would never buy an AI assistant from Microsoft especially since I might already have such a device like a PC or Xbox laying around that could be adapted to use with Cortana. That’s the unrealized possibility that Microsoft doesn’t see. People don’t want to just buy another PC product. Just sell a Cortana microphone so we might give it a try.</p>

  • 6208

    23 November, 2016 - 4:30 am

    <p>I enjoy using my Echo and Echo Dot. News, weather, music, some home automation. And, I use Cortana on my iPhone. That said, after coming from Windows Phone, Zune, Windows Home Server, and other dead ends, I will never, <em>ever</em> purchase another consumer product from Microsoft.</p>

  • 1294

    23 November, 2016 - 7:21 am

    <p>Great news! &nbsp;now that MS discovered that people usually have families, maybe the next step is to create a family plan for Groove!</p>

  • 2371

    23 November, 2016 - 8:43 am

    <p>Paul to me this is a step in allow for the Cortana Cube (if it ever happens) to work without the critical flaw that Google Home has.</p>

  • 5802

    23 November, 2016 - 9:48 am

    <p>It sounds more like the Family Room feature from Windows Phone 8.1. I’d gladly welcome that back, so my wife and I could share a calendar again.</p>

  • 5431

    23 November, 2016 - 1:17 pm

    <p>I think they are probably still building out Cortana, whereas Amazon Echo Alexa has had a head start, as far as building skill capabilities that third parties can provide.</p>
    <p>But, you have to think Microsoft has a vision for where they can take Cortana.&nbsp;</p>
    <p>I only just enabled Cortana on my work PC after 3 1/2 months of being on Windows 10.&nbsp; My sole motivation: Hey Cortana, tell me a joke.</p>

  • 4964

    24 November, 2016 - 3:50 am

    <p>I don’t see what opportunity is being missed. Echo is just a way for Amazon to sell stuff, apart from Groove media what does Microsoft have to sell from a Cortana Cube?</p>

  • 8665

    24 November, 2016 - 10:15 am

    <p>I would love a Cortana device like Alexa, Echo, or Google Home. Very disappointed that once again Microsoft seems to be a day late and a dollar short to the consumer market on this. &nbsp;I use Cortana daily and could really utilize a device like this. Come on Microsoft, you aren’t offering any products that want to make consumers further invest in your ecosystem. Big mistake imho! Does missing the phone market ring a bell? No pun intended.</p>

  • 5767

    28 November, 2016 - 4:11 pm

    <p>This is probably the software platform that can run on any Windows PC form factor including a future ‘Cortana Cube’ or ‘Surface Home Hub’. Software eats the world, hardware is secondary.</p>

  • 8915

    07 December, 2016 - 2:13 pm

    <p>I see a lot of people saying "where is the cortana hub" or&nbsp; "Microsoft will be left behind".&nbsp;&nbsp; Microsoft dabbled in Home Automation style products long before the others, but decided it was not their direction.&nbsp; Has anyone ever thought that maybe Microsoft does not actually WANT to enter this market of hardware devices for Home Assistants.</p>
    <p>The Microsoft "Home Hub" is being confused because of a name Microsoft used.&nbsp; What it actually does is turn your PC into a HOME HUB.&nbsp; A small Laptop or Windows Tablet could be the Home Assistant, complete with touch screen and the ability to also be a computer, rather than just being an elaborate speaker that can do the odd task.</p>
    <p>It is an entirely different product.&nbsp; I am quite excited to see Microsoft taking this direction of making the Home Computer the hub rather than some little cube that has much more limited functionality.</p>

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Thurrott © 2024 Thurrott LLC