Science & Technology

Microsoft to Unveil Its Vision for AI PCs at Build Developer Conference

On Tuesday, May 21, the Microsoft Build developer conference will begin, during which the technology giant based in Redmond, Washington, will demonstrate its latest projects in the area of artificial intelligence after high-profile events of a similar purpose already held this month by Google and OpenAI.

Microsoft to Unveil Its Vision for AI PCs at Build Developer Conference

It is worth noting that in the context of the so-called AI race, Microsoft has a serious competitive advantage. In this case, it is implied that the structure of the digital ecosystem of the technology giant includes the Windows operating system, which covers a huge base of personal computer users.

It is worth mentioning that in January, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that the current year will be marked by the fact that artificial intelligence will become a first-class part of every PC. The technology giant has already integrated an AI-based chatbot called Copilot into its Bing Internet search engine. The company also offers users artificial intelligence functions in Office for a fee. In this case, the integration of AI provides an increase in productivity.

It is expected that during the upcoming conference, personal computer users will be able to learn more about how artificial intelligence will be embedded in Windows and under which use cases they will be able to interact with advanced technology on their devices.

Microsoft will hold the event after one of its main competitors, Google, which currently has the status of the main player in the Internet search industry, presented its most powerful AI model and demonstrated how this digital product will function on smartphones and computers.

OpenAI unveiled its new development last week. In this case, the GPT-4o artificial intelligence model is meant. It is worth noting that Microsoft is the lead investor in OpenAI. The cooperation of the companies is bilateral. Copilot technology, which operates in the Microsoft digital ecosystem, is based on artificial intelligence models that were developed by OpenAI specialists.

Currently, the company, headed by Satya Nadella, is striving to solve a kind of dual-task. It is extremely important for the technology giant to strengthen its position in the artificial intelligence industry and make progress toward unambiguous leadership in this sphere of activity. At the same time, Microsoft is interested in increasing sales of personal computers. The market for the corresponding devices has been in a state of downturn for the past two years. This state of affairs in the personal computer sales area is largely due to the update cycle during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a note on Dell for investors, Morgan Stanley analyst Erik Woodring stated an optimistic attitude toward the prospects for the recovery of the personal computer market. This expert opinion is based on customer comments about their intentions related to the buying of a PC. Also, the analyst’s point of view is largely related to the success of upward revisions to notebook original design manufacturer (ODM) builds.

Technology industry researcher Gartner reported that in the first quarter of 2024, shipments of personal computers increased by 0.9% after a multi-year downturn. Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said during the company’s quarterly earnings report last month that demand for PCs turned out to be slightly better than preliminary expectations.

New artificial intelligence tools from the technology giant may become an additional reason for enterprise and consumer customers to update their computers, which are starting to become outdated. In this context, the manufacturer of the relevant device does not matter.

Bernstein analysts, in a note to investors released at the end of April, said that Copilot for Windows does not directly contribute to monetization, but can become a kind of factor in stimulating more intensive use of this operating system by customers, including owners of expensive and powerful personal computers. The materialization of this assumption will mean an increase in revenue for the technology giant. Copilot can also contribute to the growth of financial receipts received by Microsoft from the operation of its Internet search system.

The technology giant is expected to launch software very soon to handle some artificial intelligence tasks sent to the Internet. Microsoft computers will be equipped with AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm chips for operating with AI offline. In this case, for example, the user’s voice can be applied to ask Copilot to summarize the transcript without an Internet connection.

The main hardware addition to an artificial intelligence computer is the so-called neural processing unit (NPU). NPUs go beyond the capabilities of traditional central processing units and are designed specifically to handle AI tasks. Traditionally, NPUs have been used by companies like Apple to improve the quality of photos and videos or for speech recognition.

Microsoft has not yet provided information on the extent of the capabilities of personal computers with artificial intelligence in operation mode without an Internet connection. At the same time, Google’s Pixel 8 Pro smartphone, which is not equipped with a full-fledged computer processor, can summarize and transcribe recordings, recommend responses to text messages and much more using its AI model called Gemini Nano.

Personal computers equipped with the latest Intel Lunar Lake chips with dedicated NPU are expected to hit the market at the end of the current year. Sales of the microcircuit Snapdragon X Elite from Qualcomm with NPU will begin in mid-2024. The latest version of AMD’s Ryzen Pro, according to preliminary data, will be on the market by the end of June.

Intel says the mentioned latest chips allow users to perform real-time language translation, automate logical inference, and enhance the gaming environment.

Apple has been using NPU processors for many years and recently introduced them in its new M4 chip for the iPad Pro. It is expected that the mentioned microcircuit will be used in the next series of Mac computers, which, according to preliminary data, will debut this year.

Qualcomm offers chips powered by Arm-based architecture. At one of the Microsoft sessions during the upcoming conference, information about the next generation of Windows on Arm will be provided. Probably, in this case, it will become known how the operating system functions based on Qualcomm chips and how it differs from the Windows versions from Intel and AMD.

In the past, Qualcomm has promoted computers that run on Snapdragon Arm. In this case, the company mentioned advantages such as longer battery life and thinner designs. At the same time, early versions of Qualcomm chips were limited in what was offered to consumers. For example, in 2018, the microcircuit Snapdragon 835 could not run most Windows apps. Since then, Microsoft has improved its operating system for handling traditional apps on Arm.

It is worth noting that back in 2016, the technology giant tapped Qualcomm to lead the work on moving Windows to Arm. The exclusive rights of the manufacturer of microcircuits to devices with the mentioned operating system expire this year.

At the upcoming conference, the technology giant will also hold a session dedicated to artificial intelligence. It is expected that in this case it will be described how to speed up the process of developing AI models on devices operating in the cloud.

The Azure AI Studio session will look at how anyone can design their own Copilot chatbot, which can be similar to what Google and OpenAI are doing with Gemini and ChatGPT.

Microsoft is also expected to unveil a new version of the Surface Pro tablet and Surface Laptop at its Redmond campus this week. According to preliminary information, these devices will be equipped with Qualcomm chips based on the Arm Holdings architecture.

Returning to the topic of the current state of affairs in the personal computer industry, it should be noted that Apple’s position is strengthening in this space. The company released its own chips based on Arm developments and abandoned Intel processors. Processors designed by Apple provide Mac PCs with longer battery life and speedier performance compared to competitors’ chips, which use more energy.

As we have reported earlier, Microsoft Readies New AI Model.

Serhii Mikhailov

2359 Posts 0 Comments

Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.