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Microsoft adding new PC button in its first significant keyboard change in decades - The Copilot Key

Microsoft is introducing an artificial intelligence button to its Windows keyboards, representing the company’s inaugural noteworthy alteration to the keyboard design in almost thirty years.

The button — called the Copilot key — will launch Microsoft’s AI chatbot, the company’s executive vice president Yusuf Mehdi wrote in the Thursday announcement. He said Microsoft sees the key addition as “the entry point into the world of AI on the PC.”

“We believe it will empower people to participate in the AI transformation more easily,” Mehdi wrote.

Introduced in March of the previous year, Copilot incorporates AI into Microsoft’s software. This tool seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365, operating in conjunction with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams. Presently, users can activate it using the keyboard shortcut Windows + C.

Mehdi wrote that the additional key will move the technology world closer to a future where AI is “seamlessly” woven into Windows, from the system to the hardware.

“This will not only simplify people’s computing experience but also amplify it, making 2024 the year of the AI PC,” Mehdi wrote.

Commencing this month, select new PCs featuring Windows 11 will incorporate the Copilot keyboard button. This key will also be featured on upcoming Surface devices. Microsoft has not detailed the specific computer manufacturers adopting the button, but has mentioned it will be present on “many of the new Windows 11 PCs from our ecosystem partners.” Dell Technologies recently confirmed that the Copilot key will be included in its latest XPS laptops.

In cases where Copilot is either unavailable or not activated on the device, pressing the key will instead initiate Windows’ search function.

Microsoft compared the new button to the Windows key, which was introduced nearly 30 years ago. The new button, featuring the Copilot logo, will be located near the keyboard’s space bar. The QWERTY layout, which comprises the bulk of the modern keyboard, was developed in the 1870s.

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