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Microsoft announces Copilot+ PCs and AI-powered Recall feature

On a special event at Microsoft Campus, Microsoft unveiled Copilot+ PCs officially. This new type of Windows PCs, formerly known as AI PCs, mark the first step into introducing AI capabilities in Windows devices.

Much of what Microsoft revealed on Monday was already known through unverified leaks.

The first batch of Copilot+ PCs are powered by Qualcomm processors and not Intel or AMD silicon. These will come later this year though.

As far as requirements are concerned, these match the leaks:

  • at least 16GB of RAM.
  • at least 256GB SSD storage.
  • Integrated NPU.

No word on the Copilot key requirement though from Microsoft at this point.

Microsoft will launch two new Surface devices, the Surface Pro and the Surface Laptop. Hardware partners, including Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Acer, and Asus have announced Copilot+ PCs as well, which will come out in the coming months.

During the presentation, Microsoft claimed that the new laptops are 58% faster than MacBook Airs with an M3 processor. It did not make it clear if this is true for all Copilot+ PCs or just the PCs that use Qualcomm's ARM chips.

Microsoft promises improved battery life, with devices supporting up to 15 hours of web browsing. These numbers come down usually when they are put to the test in benchmarks. It is too early to tell how well the devices will perform when it comes to battery life, but ARM-powered Windows PCs perform better usually in this department than their Intel or AMD brethren.

Introduction of Recall, formerly known as AI File Explorer

The new breed of Copilot+ PCs will support a number of exclusive AI tools and features.

Recall was Microsoft's big reveal during the event. While it did highlight other tools, including Cocreator in Paint and Live Captions, these we not exactly new features.

Recall is a memory feature that Windows users can tap into. The main idea is that the AI feature records what users do on their PC and that users may tap into the memory at any time using natural language.

It may remind users of the Timeline feature that Microsoft introduced in Windows 10, but stopped supporting in 2021.

Microsoft revealed that Recall takes snapshots of the screen "every few seconds". These snapshots are stored encrypted on the local PC and users may find previous activity using search or by browsing a timeline.

The AI then analyzes the selected snapshot and users may interact with the content. This includes options to search in videos or through teleconference meetings.

Microsoft says that users have full control. They can exclude apps or websites from the tool and also pause, stop, or delete content at any time. The AI feature will also ignore DRM-protected content or private browsing sessions in Edge. Whether that is also true for private browsing sessions in other browsers is unclear at this point.

Microsoft provides the following information:

  • Website blocking and filtering of private browsing activity in: Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera.
  • Private browsing activity filtering only: in other Chromium-based browsers.

Other information, including passwords, codes, social security numbers, financial information, or other sensitive data, may be recorded, however.

Recall sounds like a feature that comes straight out of movies such as Minority Report. An all-knowing AI feature that unveils a user's entire activity on a PC to however has access to it.

Microsoft tried to reassure those concerned with privacy that Recall runs locally only on devices and that the content is not used for AI training either.

Recall is available as a preview at the time of writing. It is optimized for a handful of languages only at the time, including English, German, and Japanese.

Microsoft says that the feature requires at least 50 GB of free space on a hard drive. It uses 25 GB for storage, which, according to Microsoft, is good for storing about 3 months worth of activity on the device. Users may change the storage use of the feature in the settings.

Closing Words

The first batch of Qualcomm-powered Copilot+ PCs will arrive in the coming weeks and months. Later this year, PCs powered by Intel and AMD silicon will also arrive, complementing the lineup.

The first major feature that is exclusive to this new type of Windows PCs is Recall, which turns users into transparent users. While access is limited to the particular user, there are situations where users may be coerced to allow others to access it. This may happen during border crossings or during police or state investigations.

What about you? Do you plan to buy a Copilot+ PC in the future and use Recall?

Thank you for being a ComTek4u TechTips reader. The post Microsoft announces Copilot+ PCs and AI-powered Recall feature appears on ComTek4u TechTips. (via Ghacks)