Microsoft’s ‘AI PCs’ hit the market

Published June 20, 2024
Microsoft’s new line of Copilot Plus ‘AI PCs’. — Microsoft
Microsoft’s new line of Copilot Plus ‘AI PCs’. — Microsoft

TORONTO: A new line of personal computers (PCs) specially made to run artificial intelligence (AI) programmes hit stores on Tuesday, as tech companies push toward wider adoption of ChatGPT-style AI.

Microsoft unveiled last month the new AI-powered personal computers, or “AI PCs”, which will use the company’s software under the Copilot Plus brand.

The idea is to allow users to access AI capabilities on their devices without relying on the cloud, which requires more energy, takes more time, and makes the AI experience clunkier.

The PCs feature a neural processing unit (NPU) chip that helps deliver crisper photo editing, live transcription, translation, and “Recall” — a capability for the computer to keep track of everything being done on the device.

However, Microsoft removed Recall at the last minute over privacy concerns and said it would only make it available as a test feature.

For now, the devices built by hardware makers like HP and ASUS run exclusively on a new line of processors called Snapdragon X Elite and Plus, built by the California-based chip giant Qualcomm.

“We are redefining what a laptop actually does for the end user,” Qualcomm’s senior vice president Durga Malladi said at a tech conference in Toronto. “We believe this is the rebirth of the PC.”

At the May launch, Microsoft predicted over 50 million AI PCs would be sold in 12 months, given the appetite for ChatGPT’s powers.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2024

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