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Microsoft officially launched its AI PC program this week, featuring the Copilot+ PCs with Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus System on Chips (SoC) processors. However, a major feature called Recall had to be pulled from the final operating system deliverable due to privacy concerns. Microsoft and Qualcomm are still committed to the launch of Copilot+PCs, setting up retail kiosks in stores like Best Buy to promote these new PCs. Due to the sudden change in the operating system, many systems did not reach reviewers before the launch, resulting in limited available reviews at launch time.

The AI PC program from Microsoft includes the integration of a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) into SoCs with at least 40 TOPS of performance and 16 gigabytes of DRAM. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite is currently the only SoC that meets these criteria and is supported by Microsoft for the Copilot+ PC program. Processors from AMD and Intel are expected to deliver the necessary performance for Copilot+ PCs later this year, but Microsoft has not announced the exact schedule for supporting these features.

Despite the early release lacking some of the promised features, a key feature promoted by Microsoft is Recall, allowing the PC to aggregate information about the user. However, Recall was pulled from the release due to concerns about data storage and protection. Microsoft plans to make updates to Recall, including making it an opt-in experience, encrypting the database, and authenticating the user through Windows Hello. Apple has also announced its Apple Intelligence program focusing on AI functionality while ensuring strong privacy protection, putting pressure on Microsoft to provide similar privacy measures.

There is concern that when AMD and Intel ship Copilot+ compliant processors, Microsoft has not committed to supporting them at launch, potentially confusing customers. However, the market will ultimately decide if the new Snapdragon X Elite SoCs can deliver the promised consumer experience with better battery life and compatibility. Even without Recall, Copilot+ PCs offer productivity and creative features that could appeal to consumers. Reviews of the Copilot+ PCs are expected to provide more insight into their performance and capabilities in the future.

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