A major Windows 11 AI innovation may be exclusive to Snapdragon X Elite laptops — should you care?

AI Explorer Copilot
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The long-rumored AI Explorer feature, reportedly a part of the upcoming Windows 11 24H2 update, is set to make the most of the neural processing capabilities of AI PCs. However, more importantly, it may be exclusive to Snapdragon X Elite processors. 

We previously covered how the update was likely to come to laptops utilizing the Qualcomm processor first, but according to tipster Albacore on X, the requirements for AI Explorer include an ARM 64 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 225GB of system space in total, and a Snapdragon X Elite NPU. If these requirements remain in place for AI Explorer's public launch, it would make the feature entirely exclusive to Snapdragon X Elite machines.

AI Explorer could change everything for Copilot and Windows 11

AI Explorer is a rumored feature that integrates with Copilot on Windows 11 and lets an NPU (A Neural Processing Unit, like those found in Intel's Core Ultra, AMD's 8000-series, and Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite chipsets) locally store information it 'sees' on-screen, including which web pages, documents, applications, photos, videos, and more are being used at any one time.

With that information stored, users can then ask the AI Explorer (likely via Copilot) to find specific items they were looking at. If everything works out as planned, it could pull up recent recipes you were browsing, or perhaps even find a song that you were listening to earlier in the day.

It's an ambitious feature that would make waves across the industry, and considering how people have still yet to see huge changes from AI in their day-to-day lives, it could be solid proof of its convenience. Microsoft is hosting an event on May 20 before its Build event, which is to focus on AI and we're expecting this to be when the feature will be unveiled publicly. 

However, while impressive, limiting this feature to Snapdragon X Elite and ARM 64 devices could put a massive hold on its use—which isn't something a company like Microsoft should be aiming for while attempting to implement Copilot more widely. There's no doubt that Snapdragon X Elite touting laptops will make great use of the feature, but what about everyone else?

Well, rumors are just that. While Albacore's information comes directly from Windows 11 build 26100, it's possible that this is simply implying that the technology is first being tested on Snapdragon X Elite NPUs and only works on them for now. There's no ruling out that it could see implementation on Intel (x86) and AMD processors in future test versions at this time.

So those unlikely to spring for Microsoft's next wave of Surface laptops or the recently leaked Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 refresh needn't panic, at least not yet. While we know that Qualcomm's chipset will be the test bed for a number of Microsoft's AI features (especially given Microsoft's confidence that Snapdragon X Elite laptops can topple the MacBook), we're sure that these features will eventually roll out to all compatible AI PCs and laptops eventually.

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Momo Tabari
Contributing Writer

Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.