BUSINESS + ECONOMY

Microsoft unveils ‘Copilot’ key, its biggest update to Windows keyboard in 30 years

Jan 4, 2024, 6:30 PM | Updated: 7:34 pm

Windows logo is seen displayed on a phone screen in this illustration photo taken in Poland on Nove...

Windows logo is seen displayed on a phone screen in this illustration photo taken in Poland on November 30, 2020. (Jakub Porzycki/ NurPhoto/Getty Images via CNN)

(Jakub Porzycki/ NurPhoto/Getty Images via CNN)

Originally Published: 04 JAN 24 12:25 ET
Updated: 04 JAN 24 17:29 ET

New York (CNN) — Microsoft is adding a “Copilot” key that summons an AI-powered assistant with the click of a button in its biggest update to the Windows keyboard in three decades.

The software giant said Thursday that the Copilot key will be coming soon to some new PCs made and sold by a variety of manufacturers that run on the Windows operating system, as it heralded “the year of the AI PC.”

This means that with the click of a single button, PC users will soon be able to engage with Copilot, the software giant’s AI-powered chatbot, to ask questions or help draft emails.

“This will not only simplify people’s computing experience but also amplify it, making 2024 the year of the AI PC,” Yusuf Mehdi, the executive vice president and consumer chief marketing officer at Microsoft, said in a company blog post announcing the Copilot key.

The new key will ultimately “make it seamless to engage Copilot in your day-to-day,” Mehdi added. Copilot, notably, is propelled by OpenAI’s underlying technology after Microsoft’s $13 billion investment into the AI startup.

If Copilot is not yet available in your country or not enabled on your device, pressing the Copilot key will launch Windows Search.

The new key features a Copilot ribbon logo and sits on the lower right side of the keyboard, near the Space bar and Alt button.

The addition marks the first major change to the Windows PC keyboard since Microsoft added the Windows key back in 1994. That button appeared on laptop and desktop keyboards sold by companies such as Dell, Lenovo and HP.

The move by Microsoft was announced just ahead of next week’s CES tech convention, where more AI product updates are expected to be unveiled from a slew of companies. Over the past year, Big Tech companies have raced to develop and integrate AI tools across their range of products.

In the company blogpost announcing the Copilot key, Mehdi also teased a “significant shift” coming in 2024 for Microsoft, “where AI will be seamlessly woven into Windows from the system, to the silicon, to the hardware.”

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Microsoft unveils ‘Copilot’ key, its biggest update to Windows keyboard in 30 years