Intel says Microsoft’s new-age artificial intelligence computers will require a co-pilot key

Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and AMD have been pushing the idea of ​​an “AI PC” for months as we get more AI-driven features in Windows. While we’re still waiting for more details from Microsoft on its big plans for Windows AI, Intel has begun sharing Microsoft’s requirements for OEMs building AI PCs, and one of the main requirements is that the AI ​​PCs must have Microsoft’s co-pilot key.

Microsoft wants its OEM partners to provide a combination of hardware and software for its AI PC concept. These include systems equipped with Neural Processing Units (NPUs), the latest CPUs and GPUs, and Copilot access. It also requires having the new Co-Pilot Key that Microsoft announced earlier this year.

AI PC requirements.
Image: Intel

This requirement means that some laptops, such as Asus’ new ROG Zephyrus, already equipped with Intel’s new Core Ultra chips, are not technically AI PCs according to Microsoft’s strict requirements because they do not have side effects. Driving key. But in Intel’s eyes they are still artificially intelligent computers.

Todd Lewellen, head of Intel’s PC ecosystem, explained in a press release: “Intel and Microsoft’s joint definition is consistent, and we are consistent on Core Ultra, Copilot and Copilot key.” edge. “From an Intel perspective, our AI PCs have Core Ultra and have integrated NPUs because it’s unlocking all kinds of new capabilities and capabilities in AI. We have a great partnership with Microsoft, but some systems may not physical key, but it does have our integrated NPU.”

I’m sure both Intel and Microsoft are hoping that OEMs will simply comply with Microsoft’s requirements and add a copilot key over time, and it’s possible that Asus’ machines will be shipped before Microsoft is ready to meet its new requirements . Dell put Copilot stickers on its keyboards at CES earlier this year, suggesting Microsoft’s Copilot keys may be a late addition to its CES plans.

However, it’s unclear what OEMs will get in return for adhering to Microsoft’s own AI PC definition. I reached out to Microsoft for comment on its request, but the company has yet to discuss its AI PC plans. Earlier this month, Microsoft did put AI PC branding on its latest Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 enterprise devices, but it’s unclear whether it will put stickers on the laptops or provide OEMs with additional marketing budgets.

In addition to AI PC demand, Intel is also expanding its AI PC acceleration program launched in October. It’s designed to get software developers interested in AI capabilities for their apps, and now it’s expanding to smaller developers with the AI ​​PC Developer Program.

Intel’s AI PC Development Kit.
Image: Microsoft

Intel will be hosting events and providing hands-on time throughout the year to help developers get used to using AI models and tools, and there’s even an AI PC hardware development kit, which is essentially an Asus NUC Pro 14 loaded with pre-installed software, drivers and development People Tools.

Hopefully this developer focus will translate into more applications using this new NPU hardware. Currently, there aren’t many apps that can do this, and Microsoft’s Windows Studio Effects can blur the background and maintain eye contact during a video call, which is the main use of the NPU inside Windows today.

Intel has also launched this AI PC acceleration program for hardware vendors, trying to let them optimize and enable their hardware for Intel’s AI PC. This is essentially a race for Intel to get as many software and hardware developers on its side as possible to optimize applications and hardware as these AI-powered computers roll out. The competition this year is Qualcomm, which is about to launch a round of Snapdragon X Elite laptops that could bring a huge performance leap to Windows on Arm.

Google even released an optimized version of its Chrome browser for Windows on Arm this week, a major change that will greatly improve Chrome users’ experience on Qualcomm-powered Windows laptops. It is rumored that Microsoft’s consumer versions of Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 will be completely switched to Arm. Microsoft will host an AI and Surface event on May 20, where CEO Satya Nadella will outline the company’s vision for AI hardware and solutions. software.

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