Microsoft’s Home Hub Is Not A Cortana Cube

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Brad Sams in Windows 10 with 23 Comments


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.

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.

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Comments (23)

23 responses to “Microsoft’s Home Hub Is Not A Cortana Cube”

  1. 1129

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

    • 277

      In reply to Fusciacastle:
      I agree,  but where is it?   If they wait any longer the market will be cornered.   Unless they can bring something new or signicantly better, it might be too late already. 
    • 1561

      In reply to Fusciacastle:

      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.

  2. 5394

    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.

  3. 1217

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

  4. 5767

    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.

  5. 8665

    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.  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.

  6. 4964

    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?

  7. 5431

    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.

    But, you have to think Microsoft has a vision for where they can take Cortana. 

    I only just enabled Cortana on my work PC after 3 1/2 months of being on Windows 10.  My sole motivation: Hey Cortana, tell me a joke.

  8. 5802

    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.

  9. 2371

    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.

  10. 1294

    Great news!  now that MS discovered that people usually have families, maybe the next step is to create a family plan for Groove!

  11. 6208

    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, ever purchase another consumer product from Microsoft.

  12. 5496

    Microsoft can still come out either echo and google home competitor.

    Google home came out half done. It cannot read your email or calendar.

    do Microsoft will not be late to do it.

  13. 206

    I just want an Ergo Audrey style device w/Cortana as the interface.  Call it the Borg Cube or whatever you want...but MS is missing the boat.

  14. 127

    Microsoft should make a dedicated 'kids corner' PC with Cortana  integration. Allowing anyone in the family to use it. Think Echo inside a PC touchscreen form factor 

  15. 5554

    Nobody's clamoring for a Cortana standalone device because nobody uses Cortana.   And certainly not anyone outside the U.S. since Microsoft can't be bothered with international support.

    • 8915

      In reply to PeteB:

      I use Cortana all the time.  It is freely available in many countries on Windows 10 PC versions and Mobile versions.  it is only the Android App that is not available overseas.

      I don't see Google or Apple releasing their assistants at all for Windows Phone.  Google Now is not on iOS and Siri is not on Android. 

      Microsoft is at least making the effort to get Cortana on other platforms so people have an alternative.

    • 8665

      In reply to PeteB:  Personally, I use Cortana all the time and love it.


    • 2063

      In reply to PeteB:

      I use Cortana and I'm not in the US.

  16. 6844

    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.

  17. 907

    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 :)

  18. 8915

    I see a lot of people saying "where is the cortana hub" or  "Microsoft will be left behind".   Microsoft dabbled in Home Automation style products long before the others, but decided it was not their direction.  Has anyone ever thought that maybe Microsoft does not actually WANT to enter this market of hardware devices for Home Assistants.

    The Microsoft "Home Hub" is being confused because of a name Microsoft used.  What it actually does is turn your PC into a HOME HUB.  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.

    It is an entirely different product.  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.