Microsoft and Qualcomm unveil AI-powered Copilot+ PC: pre-orders surpass expectations

Jay Liu, Taipei, DIGITIMES Asia 0


Microsoft and Qualcomm's limited-time collaboration on the Copilot+ PC has entered its pre-order phase, marking a significant step in bringing AI-powered PCs to the consumer market. This initiative represents the first major outcome of Microsoft's decision to partner with Qualcomm for the initial rollout.

During COMPUTEX 2024, Qualcomm representatives expressed optimism about pre-order levels. Other chip industry insiders recently noted that Microsoft is quite pleased with the Copilot+ PC's pre-order performance, which has surpassed initial expectations.

Sustaining this momentum hinges on the feedback from early adopters. Qualcomm and other IC suppliers hope this trend continues at least through the second half of the year, laying a solid foundation for the future of AI PCs.

Microsoft's decision to exclusively use the Snapdragon X series platform for the Copilot+ PC was initially met with skepticism. The market has long trusted the x86 architecture for Windows PCs, and Qualcomm's previous ventures into the PC market have been less than stellar, making it a tough sell.

However, Microsoft's aggressive push and exclusive partnership, coupled with enlisting all major notebook manufacturers to launch products simultaneously, appears to have alleviated initial concerns. This strategy has resulted in better-than-expected pre-order numbers. Nonetheless, whether these numbers translate into long-term success for the Copilot+ PC remains to be seen.

The first models released are generally high-priced, suggesting that neither Microsoft, Qualcomm, nor the notebook manufacturers set overly ambitious pre-order targets, making it easier to exceed these goals.

Industry experts believe the real challenge for the Copilot+ PC is just beginning. AI features must be compelling enough to persuade consumers to purchase high-priced models in a still-recovering economic environment, a difficult task.

Chipmakers acknowledge that the AI PC era is just starting, and consumer hesitation is expected. Assembly plants also have a conservative outlook on the overall volume and replacement cycle of AI PCs, anticipating that the demand surge may not be as strong as projected. Products must undergo consumer testing to gradually improve and strengthen.

Moreover, the rapid development of AI application algorithms and related functions, with significant improvements or new features emerging each quarter, can be continuously updated. This allows Copilot+ PC users to experience enhancements in real time, potentially accelerating demand faster than expected.

Several IC design firms in Taiwan are eager to capitalize on the Copilot+ PC trend. These companies are leveraging their high-spec products and long-term presence in the PC market to enter this new sector.

IC design firms assert that beyond the Microsoft-Qualcomm collaboration on the Copilot+ PC, they hope other platforms will integrate AI features. Even without the Copilot+ PC branding, expanding AI functionality to more users could drive broader adoption and accelerate the volume of various chips.