The obsession of Microsoft with Artificial intelligence continues with the recent launches. They launched the Copilot AI mobile app versions for different platforms. The company also integrated AI into every possible avenue of its software. It’s so obsessive that they are even calling their web browser, Microsoft Edge, an AI browser.
The signs are clear that Microsoft wants to embrace AI in every aspect of its presence. To further their advancements, Microsoft recently announced that Windows 11 keyboards will now feature a dedicated Copilot key, the AI key.
You can read all about their new strategy in the blog shared by Microsoft.
Microsoft showcased the design of the Copilot key in a demo video. They are saying it is going to be a big thing for our PC keyboards. The job of the newly added key will be to open the Copilot generative AI assistant on Windows 11. For that to work, Copilot must be installed on your device and you’re logged on to a Microsoft account.
The shortcut for the Copilot is still available, you need to press the Windows + C button combo to access it. Now, with a dedicated key, you can skip extra steps.
As Microsoft pointed out, the Copilot key is the most significant change in the PC keyboard since Microsoft dropped the Windows logo key around 30 years ago. And they believe that it will empower people to participate in the AI transformation more effectively and easily.
The new Copilot key will take the place of the menu key on the right-hand side of the space bar. It will be sandwiched between the Alt key and the left arrow key navigations on laptops. In the full-size keyboards, it will sit between the Alt key and the Ctrl key. Chances are, this key is here to stay as Microsoft is hedging all bets on AI.
When Can We Expect Hardware Flaunting Copilot Key
Copilot made its debut on Windows 11 in September; you can expect the first wave of hardware flaunting the Copilot key at CES 2024.
Microsoft and its partners are planning to start releasing the Copilot key branded hardware later in January or early February. The products will keep rolling through spring. The Company also hinted at adding the key to its upcoming Surface lineup. It would not look good for them if they didn’t add it to the Surface devices.
Copilot is not available, as of now, in many parts of the world, the rollout of the program is slow. Until then, the dedicated Copilot key in those areas will work as Windows Search. At present, it looks like the Copilot key is just a launch pad for their AI capabilities. Whether this key will have a future or play nice with other keys is unknown.
However, if manufacturers also believe in the idea of AI focused approach and all of them are on board, then we can see it working in the long run.
Microsoft has been trying to infuse AI into as many products as they can recently. Here is a brief look at the whole Windows 11 AI ecosystem that Microsoft has been trying to build.
Windows 11 AI Ecosystem
Microsoft has been trying to bring AI, specifically things built on GPT models, to Windows. Here are a few things Microsoft has introduced in the past year or so.
- Windows Copilot: The centralized AI assistance to help the user take action and get things done through AI.
- Bing Chat Plugins: They’ve extended Bing Chat Plugins to Windows to enable developers to integrate their apps in an aid to serving their audience better.
- Office 365: Copilot is also integrated into Office 365 products like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams. This tool can summarize text, write new copy, write emails, create presentations, and more.
- Hybrid AI Loop: This shiny tool supports AI development across platforms.
- Dev Home: They’ve also introduced a tool called Dev Home for developers to be more productive inside Windows.
- They’ve also announced the new AI features in the Microsoft Store on Windows to better the experience of users on the platform.
As we’ve mentioned earlier Microsoft is hedging all its bets on AI moving forward, they’re even going nuclear to power its ambitions. They are thinking of the next-generation nuclear reactors to power the data centers required for the next AI revolution.
So, it’s safe to say that Copilot’s key announcement is a step in the process of working towards an AI-focused approach. Only time will tell whether users will react positively towards this change or it will fail to make an impression.