Hints about Build 2024 suggest Microsoft's set to reveal killer AI feature for Windows 11 PCs

Microsoft is apparently going to make big revelations about AI PCs at its Build 2024 conference, including a linchpin feature for AI.

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We've just had word of some hints as to what Microsoft is planning to reveal about AI PCs and Copilot, as well as Windows on ARM, at its Build conference which takes place in May.

Microsoft hasn't stopped harping on about AI PCs since late last year, and don't expect that to change anytime soon (Image Credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft hasn't stopped harping on about AI PCs since late last year, and don't expect that to change anytime soon (Image Credit: Microsoft)

Build 2024 runs from May 21 to May 23, in fact, and Windows Central was quick to spot that new details of the sessions that'll take place at the conference have been shared via the official website.

One of those sessions is entitled 'Introducing the Next Generation of Windows on Arm' and we're told that this is all about telling us why the ARM-based spin on Microsoft's desktop OS is about to experience a leap in its potential.

Microsoft promises the session will provide an opportunity to learn about 'intelligent' Windows apps that use the capabilities of the NPU to accelerate workloads, and to see what Microsoft has been doing behind the scenes with Windows on ARM in general.

We've seen all sorts of promises about emulation being much more performant with teasing of the incoming ARM-based Snapdragon X Elite chip, so presumably this will be backing all that talk up. If we're looking at performance akin to Apple's emulation on the M3 SoC, or better, then maybe x86 apps are going to finally run well enough to persuade folks that Windows on ARM is a viable option.

If you recall, Microsoft is planning to reveal new Surface consumer models (Surface Pro 10, Surface Laptop 6) just ahead of Build (on May 20), which will be powered by the Snapdragon X Elite SoC (or a customized Microsoft variant on the chip). So this is going to be one big push for the benefits of the AI PC and ARM silicon plus Surface devices (that go on sale in June), all rolled into one.

Key AI addition

Speaking of the benefits of AI, Microsoft will of course be making a big deal out of Copilot at Build 2024, and also a key new feature for its AI PCs.

That's the subject of another session which is specifically dedicated to 'Designing for a brand new Windows AI feature.'

Now, as to what the feature actually is, Microsoft doesn't say, but we've got a good guess based on past rumors and the hint in the session description which talks about allowing users "deeper interaction with their digital lives on Windows."

As previously rumored by Windows Central's Zac Bowden, this is almost certainly going to be AI Explorer, which is supposedly set to be a central pillar around which AI PCs are built.

In theory - if the speculation is right - AI Explorer will be a full timeline of the usage of your PC, facilitating a new level of searching Windows 11 using natural language queries.

So, if you know you put together a document about collimating your telescope, for example, but can't find it, you can simply ask 'find that thing I wrote about telescopes' and AI Explorer will retrieve anything relevant.

We don't know for sure that this will be the introduction of AI Explorer, but it seems a fair bet. Roll on Build 2024, and we'll find out next month...

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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