Windows’ AI-powered future could feature ‘Qualcomm Inside’

From PC World: For years, AMD and especially Intel have dominated the PC industry, even after Qualcomm introduced its first Snapdragon processors for laptops. Now, Microsoft may be giving pride of place to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite processor with an upcoming Windows feature — and leaving AMD and Intel out in the cold.

In May, Microsoft will host its annual Build conference in Seattle. Microsoft will open that conference with a presentation from chief executive Satya Nadella to “share our AI vision across hardware and software,” according to Microsoft. That presentation is expected to introduce the Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 5 for consumers, both featuring Qualcomm’s surprisingly powerful Snapdragon X Elite processor, based on the Arm architecture. Microsoft has already launched versions of both devices with Intel processors inside, for businesses.

But it’s the “software” version of Microsoft’s AI vision that’s intriguing. Microsoft’s last feature update of Windows 11 may have introduced AI PCs, but Microsoft is moving more aggressively to a future where AI is more tightly integrated into the operating system. Microsoft appears to have a more formal definition of an “AI PC” waiting in the wings, and we know that it includes a Copilot key as well as the AI coprocessor known as an NPU.

But which NPU? We’ve always assumed that Microsoft would be fairly agnostic about which processors it would allow inside AI PCs. But we’re seeing the first indications that certain processors might not be up to snuff.

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