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Microsoft Announces "Phi-3," its New Small Language Models


The advent of new AI-based technologies including GenAI and LLMs (large language models) has no doubt resulted in big industry names pushing for continued work on everything AI. With that in mind, Microsoft recently announced its new Phi-3 family of open models. Unlike LLMs such as Gemini and ChatGPT though, the Phi-3 models are described by Microsoft as cost-effective small language models, aka SLMs.


The company says that its new Phi-3 models outperform models of the same size and even the next size up in terms of different benchmarks covering language, coding and math capabilities. According to Microsoft, this is made possible via training innovations developed by the company's researchers.


Microsoft Announces "Phi-3," its New Small Language Models


Additionally, Microsoft adds that it's making the first Phi-3 model publicly available via Phi-3-mini, which measures at 3.8 billion parameters and is able to outperform models twice its size. Phi-3 will be available in the Microsoft Azure AI Model Catalog and on Hugging Face, a platform for machine learning models, as well as Ollama, a framework for running models on a local machine. It will also be available as an NVIDIA NIM microservice with a standard API interface.


Finally, additional models to the Phi-3 family will be made available soon to offer more choice across quality and cost - these include Phi-3-small (7 billion parameters) and Phi-3-medium (14 billion parameters), which will be available in the Azure AI Model Catalog and other model gardens later on.

Microsoft's long-awaited Surface Pro 10 is reportedly only weeks away, but don't get too excited


We don't know exactly who copied took inspiration from whom, but in an unusual turn of events, both Apple and Microsoft left their flagship tablets unupgraded last year. That's obviously unlikely to happen again this year, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise that speculation is ramping up in regards to both the next iPad Pro generation and a largely mysterious (at least until today) Surface Pro 10.


Believe it or not, the latter Windows-based powerhouse is expected to see daylight as early as March 21 by not one but two different and equally trustworthy tech publications, at least in a "commercial" variant featuring "minor spec bumps" compared to 2022's Surface Pro 9.


In this case, commercial doesn't actually mean what you may think it does, referring to a business-friendly model that will largely be unavailable to "regular" users. Those everyday consumers will need to wait a bit longer for a more radically upgraded Surface Pro 10 edition with a new high-quality OLED display in tow, as well as an ultra-wide-angle front-facing camera and a built-in NFC reader.


Perhaps more importantly, the consumer-oriented Surface Pro 10 is likely to pack unspecified ARM-based processors, thus achieving "true all-day battery life" while purportedly improving the performance of the Intel-powered Pro 9.


That sounds like an absolutely dreamy possible value proposition, but if The Verge's inside sources are correct, we might have to wait until June to see this version become a commercial reality. Unless, of course, Windows Central proves more accurate in its predictions of a March 21 announcement for both Intel and ARM-powered Surface Pro 10 variants headed to the business and consumer retail channels respectively.


All in all, there's clearly still a lot of confusion hovering over Microsoft's tablet release plans this year, so instead of going further down the gossip rabbit hole, the wise thing is probably just to give the company two more weeks to announce... something.


That something will almost certainly include a Surface Laptop 6 with ARM and Intel versions of its own as well, which sounds equally intriguing even if you're not much of a traditional laptop person.


The Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6 are also virtually guaranteed to leverage the state-of-the-art AI capabilities Microsoft is expected to add to Windows 11 later this year, so that's definitely another thing to get excited about while you take a look at our list of the best tablets available today... and quickly understand this is not the ideal time to buy anything on said list.

Microsoft Announces Upcoming Xbox Partner Preview


Microsoft's Xbox brand has been in the news a lot lately - after announcing that it will be bringing over some exclusive games for rival systems like the PS5 and Switch (not to mention a sizeable number of layoffs), it looks like we're getting a more "subdued" event of sorts with an upcoming Partner Preview presentation.


Scheduled for March 6, the Partner Preview will give Xbox fans updates about upcoming games to both Xbox and Windows. As per Microsoft's announcement:


Today, we're thrilled to announce the next Xbox Partner Preview, this time featuring a mix of new and upcoming games for you from publishers like Capcom, Nexon, EA, and others with more than a dozen new trailers over the course of a 30-minute broadcast.


During Xbox Partner Preview, you can learn more about combat and traversal in Tales of Kenzera: Zau, with a video narrated by Abubakar Salim himself, see new gameplay from Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess, get a closer look at The First Berserker: Khazan, and other great titles coming to Xbox, Windows, or Game Pass.


Microsoft Announces Upcoming Xbox Partner Preview


For those looking forward to tune in, the event will broadcast at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm GMT via the official Xbox channels on YouTube and Twitch.

Microsoft Copilot's latest update adds new UI on Android and iOS devices


Formally introduced last month after being tested for about a year, Microsoft's Copilot for Android and iOS devices has just received a major update that adds a new UI. Rolling out in waves, the update brings a more streamlined look and feel specifically designed to help users take advantage of Copilot's AI-powered features.


With more than 5 billion chats and 5 billion images created to date, Copilot is slowly becoming one of the biggest AI-powered tools available. The chatbot developed by Microsoft allows users to go beyond just creative images to now customize their generated images with inline editing right inside the app thanks to Designer.


Although some of the features offered by Copilot require a subscription, almost all of them have a free version that at least allows users to figure out if they're worth paying for.


For example, Copilot Pro subscribers can also resize and regenerate images between square and landscape without leaving chat, in addition to customizing the images with Designer.


Microsoft Copilot's latest update adds new UI on Android and iOS devices


Finally, Microsoft announced that it will soon roll out the new Designer GPT inside Copilot, offering users a more immersive, dedicated canvas inside the chatbot.


Microsoft's Copilot is available for free and works on Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. All the changes announced this week will be rolled out on iOS, Android, and the web.

Microsoft Copilot Pro is for all you AI super users out there


Towards the end of 2023, Microsoft launched Copilot, its AI powered virtual assistant. If you feel that its features are a bit limited, then you're in luck as Microsoft has announced Copilot Pro. This is a subscription program that will unlock additional features of Copilot AI.


Microsoft says that Copilot Pro was created with two types of AI users in mind. This includes power users and those who might want to see deeper integration of Copilot within Microsoft's other products and services, like Microsoft 365.



With the subscription, users will be able to gain priority access to the latest AI models during peak times. Microsoft also says that there will be improved image generation of 100 boosts per day. It will include better and more detailed image quality and landscape image formats. Copilot Pro will also allow users to build their own Copilot GPT in the Copilot GPT Builder.


This will come in handy for users and organizations that want a more tailored AI for specific internal uses. Lastly, Copilot Pro will also grant access to the AI in Microsoft 365 across all platforms for Personal and Family subscribers.


Copilot Pro will cost $20 a month. For context, OpenAI's ChatGPT Plus costs the same minus the Microsoft integration. If you think that this will be useful for your needs, then this could be worth checking out.

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