Smart home

Microsoft to make Win 10 PCs into smart home hubs?

The software giant is reportedly working on a HomeHub feature that would let you control devices from Nest, SmartThings and other vendors.

Microsoft reportedly is working on technology to turn Windows 10 PCs into smart home hubs.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft wants Windows 10 PCs to work as smart home hubs, according to a new report.

The software giant reportedly is working on a "HomeHub" feature for Windows 10 that will let PCs interact with and control smart home devices, as well as let families share access to calendars and apps, according to The Verge.

Microsoft is "tentatively planning" to support popular smart home vendors Philips Hue, Nest, Insteon, Wink and Samsung's SmartThings, the publication said. Users reportedly will be able to make voice commands using Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant, and The Verge said Microsoft has been working with PC makers like HP and Lenovo to create computers for the holidays that support the new home feature.

Another big change will be "a new welcome screen that includes an 'always on' digital corkboard to let families use to-do lists, calendars and notes," The Verge said. It added that the welcome screen is designed for "kitchen PCs" (do people commonly have PCs specifically for their kitchens?), as well as newer, smaller devices with screens.

The report says Microsoft aims to include the new welcome screen and other features in a Windows 10 update in September.

The home has increasingly turned into a battleground for tech giants looking to sell you new, connected gadgets. It's part of an emerging area called the internet of things, which links together just about anything that plugs into an electrical outlet so the devices can communicate with one another. Amazon has led this area with its popular Echo speakers and its Alexa voice assistant. Google Home has become a close second, while Apple, Microsoft and others have lagged behind. Apple may introduce its Echo competitor at its developer conference next month.

Microsoft didn't respond to a request for comment.