3 min Devices

Microsoft announces Copilot+ AI PCs and Recall GenAI features

Microsoft announces Copilot+ AI PCs and Recall GenAI features

Microsoft has announced the arrival of so-called Copilot+ AI PCs that can run LLMs on-device, among other things. The tech giant is also introducing the new Copilot GenAI functionality Recall, which allows users to recover everything they do on their PCs.

Microsoft announced it is launching a number of its own AI PCs that can run LLMs locally on-device instead of in a cloud environment. This allows end users to take advantage of faster and more power-efficient AI functionality, particularly Copilot’s GenAI capabilities.

Qualcomm processors and NPUs

Interestingly, Microsoft has high hardware requirements for these Copilot+ AI devices. These include its own Surface devices and PCs, as well as models from partners such as Dell, Lenovo, HP, Samsung, Asus and Acer. These must have at least 16 GB of RAM and a minimum storage capacity of 256 GB.

In addition, the Copilot+ AI PCs run entirely on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Plus and Elite processors (not yet introduced). These are based on the Arm processor architecture. Intel and AMD are skipped initially, although the tech giant indicates that it may start using processors from these manufacturers in the future. The choice for Qualcomm is said to be mainly because Intel and AMD are still developing the necessary processors.

More important than the processors are the Neural Processing Units (NPUs) required for AI workloads. Microsoft requires NPUs for its Copilot+ AI PCs that enable more than 40 trillion operations per second (TOPS). Qualcomm’s selected processors are said to have NPUs that deliver 45 TOPS.

Grafische computerafbeelding van een NPU-chip (neurale verwerkingseenheid) die wordt geassembleerd, met gloeiende lichteffecten op de achtergrond van een printplaat.

Arm processors

According to Microsoft, the choice for Qualcomm’s Arm-based processors, which the chip maker developed thanks to its acquisition of Nuvia, is a result of the increasing number of applications that support this processor architecture.

The company provides a new emulation layer called Prism with its new Copilot+ AI PCs. This ensures applications unsuitable for Arm processors will also run on the new devices.

Recall functionality

The new Copilot+ AI PCs are naturally equipped with several new Copilot GenAI features. Of these, the new Recall functionality stands out. Recall is a collection of AI features that give users useful suggestions by keeping track of everything they have done on their PC: from meeting sessions and opening files to performing internet searches.

Een screenshot van een Windows-pc met een webbrowser met verschillende winkelartikelen, waaronder een waterfles, leren handtas en sojakaars. Op het scherm wordt een functie gemarkeerd genaamd Recall op Copilot+ PC.

To do this, the tool constantly takes snapshots of what happens on a Copilot+ AI PC so users can always find it back in a timeline. The snapshots are stored only locally for security and privacy reasons—which, of course, requires a large onboard storage capacity. Users can also control what is and isn’t recorded. All of this work is ultimately handled by the onboard NPU.

The first Copilot AI+ PCs should hit the market in mid-June.

Also read: Microsoft understands that AI is more than a Copilot button