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20/05/24 | 7:38 pm | Microsoft

Microsoft to unveil AI devices and features ahead of developer conference

Microsoft plans to announce several pieces of hardware and software related to consumer devices on Monday at an event at its Redmond, Washington, campus.

The Windows maker is expected to reveal a new version of its Surface Pro tablet and Surface Laptop that feature Qualcomm chips based on Arm Holdings’ architecture.

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’s product event, a day before the start of its annual developer conference, is open to journalists and industry analysts who attend in person. It will not be live-streamed.

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, 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 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 expires this year.

(Reuters)

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