Microsoft has invested a lot into developing Windows 10, a powerful operating system that keeps getting better each day. Ever since Windows 10 became available nearly two years ago, Microsoft has been very active in terms of upgrades and improvements, and two recent announcements reveal that the company intends to make the operating system more useful at home, on the go and at the office.

The Windows Home Hub

The next major update to Windows 10 is expected to introduce the Home Hub, a new feature that will compete directly with products such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Amazon and Google recently introduced smart speakers that essentially operate as voice-activated computers that can retrieve information, organize tasks, play entertainment, make phone calls, and control smart home devices. Both Amazon Echo and Google Home take advantage of virtual assistant technology: Amazon uses Alexa while Google uses an advanced version of Google Now.

Instead of releasing a new smart speaker, Microsoft intends to leverage the power of Cortana, the virtual assistant found within Windows 10. Most computing devices these days are equipped with microphones and speakers, which means that they can be used as smart home assistants similar to Google Home and Amazon Echo. This is what the Windows Home Hub seeks to accomplish by providing a desktop overlay that will not require a personal Microsoft account to use; this will allow members of a household to share items and issue voice commands.

Windows 10 Becomes Friendlier to Mobile Devices

Microsoft plans to increase the market share of Windows 10 by developing a version that will run on ARM chips such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. The company has learned from its failed Windows RT project, which did not run smoothly on ARM and was lacking in apps.

During a recent demonstration for tech journalists, Microsoft engineers showed a version of Windows 10 running on a Qualcomm laptop and running Photoshop. Analysts believe that Microsoft could be getting ready to add a new laptop or tablet to its Surface line of portable computing devices; however, this would only be the beginning.

It appears that Microsoft is working on a version of Windows 10 that will truly turn a smartphone into a PC. The current Windows Continuum feature almost provides this functionality, but Windows 10 on an ARM device will do a lot more than just synchronize files between a laptop or desktop and a smartphone; the idea is to create smartphones that can be easily connected to a keyboard and monitor to be used as PCs.

The Windows Home Hub and the first Windows 10 ARM laptops are expected to be available in 2017.