Microsoft may be the only one with a real AI PC this summer – Techzine Europe

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There has been talk of AI PCs for months. Both from software manufacturers such as Microsoft and Google, as well as chip and hardware vendors such as Intel, AMD, HP and Dell. Based on leaked system specifications, it appears that a Windows 11 AI feature called AI explorer, will only be available on Arm systems. That could mean only Microsoft will have an actual AI PC this summer.

It is clear that AI features are coming to Windows 11. Late last year and early this year, it looked like Microsoft would come out with Windows 12. Now, it is clear that Windows 11 is just going to get a huge AI update. That new version, combined with new hardware, should shape the AI PC.

AI Explorer

One of the most important AI features will be “AI Explorer.” This AI explorer will track exactly what a user does on their PC, what documents they create, what websites they visit, and possibly even what e-mails they send. All that metadata is then collected and stored in a local search database. Users can search this database using “natural language” and AI. That means you can simply ask the AI explorer a question, and it will have a comprehensive answer.

Possible examples: “Last week I was getting inspiration for a new bathroom, which images did I look at the longest?”. Another example: “A few weeks ago I made a proposal for project X for a client, what was the conclusion of that proposal?”

So, this AI explorer search database goes much further than traditional search. It also better understands the context of what you are looking for. It can even handle special parameters, like what I looked at the longest or the conclusion of a series of emails or a project proposal.

Also read: PC sales rebound in Q1, but AI isn’t the cause

Only for Arm AI PCs?

For business users, the AI Explorer sounds very interesting because it can save you a considerable amount of time. This is especially true if you are a bit messy and not good at retrieving documents or emails, but also just when you need a quick answer to a question.

However, the now leaked system specs indicate that it will be available only on Arm PCs and specifically on chips from the Qualcomm Snapdragon X platform. Those feature an NPU to handle AI tasks at a speed of 45 TOPS. Intel and AMD counterparts do not get beyond 10 and 16 TOPS, respectively. So it could just be that AI Explorer requires more TOPS and this feature will not come to x86 chips until they have better NPUs. Intel and AMD can only offer 45 TOPS by combining CPU, GPU and NPU at this moment. On a laptop that will kill the battery very quickly, so Microsoft only wants to use NPU for AI.

Microsoft is likely to release more information on May 20

Microsoft will reportedly host an event on May 20 to announce more about the AI features in Windows 11. There are also rumours Microsoft will present new hardware, possibly new Arm-powered laptops that can handle these new AI features. This is, however, bad news for the recently announced Surface Laptop 6 series. Those feature Intel chips with up to 10 TOPS.

It remains to be seen how this scenario will unfold, but it could just be that only Microsoft will have true AI PCs this summer. This is also bad news for parties like HP, Dell, and Lenovo. We don’t see these traditional PC makers suddenly bringing Arm PCs to market. Traditional PC makers have such a strong preference for Intel that we don’t see that changing anything soon. That may make Microsoft the only one with an actual AI PC this summer.

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