Microsoft appears to be planning its own rival to the likes of Amazon Echo and Apple HomeKit, in the form of HomeHub. The smart home control feature, or at least the first stages of it, will become part of Windows 10, possibly in the next update due in September.

HomeHub is being designed and developed to become the central control hub for families, and will give shared access to apps, calendars and will provide a new welcome screen. HomeHub will also support third-party smart home products such as Philips Hue lights, which will be controllable directly from a Windows 10 PC.

The Verge has obtained concept images showing how HomeHub will work, and there appears to be a new welcome screen that has an "always on" digital corkboard that displays all the day's tasks, meetings and events in a calendar for the whole family.

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Of course, being a Microsoft system, you will be able to control everything with your voice via Cortana. You will be able to make and receive calls, control smart home products, and carry out internet searches, all by using your voice through a Windows 10 PC.

The new welcome screen, shared desktops and calling features are said to be included with the September update, but smart home control may not be available immediately. Along with Philips Hue, Microsoft plans to support Nest, Insteon, Wink and SmartThings.

Microsoft's PC partners HP and Lenovo are said to be working on new PCs to take advantage of the new features, although currents ones can be refreshed. It's possible that these features, along with new PCs, will be officially announced at Microsoft's 23 May event in Shanghai.