Microsoft Surface event: the 6 biggest announcements


Microsoft (MSFT.O)

, opens a new tab said on Monday it would launch a new category of personal computer capable of handling more artificial intelligence tasks without calling on cloud data centers.
At the event on its campus in Redmond, Washington, Chief Executive Satya Nadella introduced what he dubbed "Copilot+" PCs, saying that Microsoft as well as a range of partners such as Dell Technologies (DELL.N), opens new tab, Qualcomm (QCOM.O), opens new tab, Intel (INTC.O), opens new tab and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD.O), opens new tab would help build them.
Microsoft showed a feature called "Recall," which will help users find files and other data that they have seen on their PC, even if it was a tab opened in a Web browser. The company also demonstrated its Copilot voice assistant acting as a real-time virtual coach to a user playing the "Minecraft" video game.
Yusuf Mehdi, who heads up consumer marketing for Microsoft, said the company expects that 50 million AI PCs will be purchased over the next year. At the press event, he said faster AI assistants that run directly on a PC will be "the most compelling reason to upgrade your PC in a long time."
To be called a "Copilot+" PC, the machines must meet minimum standards of processing power and performance, meaning that they will likely sell for higher prices. Microsoft's new "Copilot+" computer marketing category that highlights AI features is reminiscent of the "Ultrabook" category of thin-form Windows laptops that Intel promoted with PC manufacturers in 2011 to compete against Apple's MacBook Air.
Microsoft executives also said that GPT-4o, the latest technology from OpenAI, will "soon" be available as part of Microsoft Copilot.
Microsoft also introduced a new generation of its own Surface Pro tablet and Surface Laptop that feature Qualcomm chips based on Arm Holdings' (O9Ty.F), opening new tab, architecture. The company also introduced a technology called Prism that will help software written for Intel and AMD chips run on chips made with Arm technology.
After Intel's processors dominated the personal computer market for decades, Qualcomm and other makers of lower-power Arm components have tried to compete in the Windows PC market.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite chips include a so-called neural processing unit that is designed to accelerate AI-focused applications, such as Microsoft's Copilot software.
Microsoft held the product event a day before the start of its annual developer conference.
Microsoft aims to extend its early advantage in the race to produce AI tools that consumers are willing to pay for. Its partnership with ChatGPT maker OpenAI allowed it to jump ahead of Alphabet (GOOGL.O), and open a new tab, as other Big Tech companies race to dominate the emerging field.
Last week, OpenAI and Alphabet's Google showcased dueling AI technologies that can respond via voice in real-time and be interrupted, both hallmarks of realistic voice conversations that AI voice assistants have found challenging. Google also announced it was rolling out several generative AI features to its lucrative search engine.
The PC industry has been under increasing pressure from Apple (AAPL.O), which opens new tabs since the company launched its custom chips based on designs from Arm and ditched Intel's processors. The Apple-designed processors have given Mac computers superior battery life and speedier performance than rivals' chips that use more energy.
Microsoft tapped Qualcomm to lead the effort to move the Windows operating system to Arm's chip designs in 2016. Qualcomm has exclusivity on Microsoft Windows devices that expire this year. Other chip designers such as Nvidia (NVDA.O), open new tabs and have efforts underway to make their own Arm-based PC chips, Reuters has previously reported.

Microsoft wants laptop users to get so comfortable with its artificial intelligence chatbot that it will remember everything you’re doing on your computer and help figure out what you want to do next.

The software giant on Monday revealed an upgraded version of Copilot, its AI assistant, as it confronts heightened competition from big tech rivals in pitching generative AI technology that can compose documents, make images, and serve as a lifelike personal assistant at work or home.

The announcements ahead of Microsoft’s annual Build developer conference in Seattle centered on imbuing AI features into a product where Microsoft already has the eyes of millions of consumers: the Windows operating system for personal computers.

The new features will include Windows Recall, enabling the AI assistant to “access virtually what you have seen or done on your PC in a way that feels like having photographic memory”. Microsoft promises to protect users’ privacy by allowing them to filter out what they don’t want tracked.

The conference follows big AI announcements last week from rival Google and Microsoft’s close business partner OpenAI, which built the AI large language models on which Microsoft’s Copilot is based.

Google rolled out a retooled search engine that periodically puts AI-generated summaries over website links at the top of the results page; while also showing off a still-in-development AI assistant Astra that will be able to “see” and converse about things shown through a smartphone’s camera lens.

ChatGPT-maker OpenAI unveiled a new version of its chatbot last week, demonstrating an AI voice assistant with human characteristics that can banter about what someone’s wearing and even attempt to assess a person’s emotions. The voice sounded so much like Scarlett Johansson playing an AI character in the sci-fi movie “Her” that OpenAI dropped the voice from its collection Monday.

Though Microsoft has invested billions in OpenAI, the startup also rolled out a new desktop version of ChatGPT designed for Apple’s Mac computers.

Next up is Apple’s own annual developers conference in June. Apple CEO Tim Cook signaled at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in February that it has been investing in generative AI.

Some of Microsoft’s announcements Monday appeared designed to blunt whatever Apple has in store. The newly AI-enhanced Windows PCs will start rolling out on 18 June on computers made by Microsoft partners Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Samsung, as well as on Microsoft’s Surface line of devices. But they’ll be reserved for premium models starting at $999.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post