Dell’s Thumb-Size ‘Ophelia’ PC Ships in July
Earlier this year during CES 2013, Dell introduced Project Ophelia, an Android-powered flash drive about the size of a standard USB stick. It plugs into the HDMI port of any HDTV or monitor, turning it into a makeshift Android-based PC that also provides access to locally-stored files, desktop remote access, and all the apps and media served up on Google Play. It even features Bluetooth so that users can connect a mouse and a keyboard, and Wi-Fi for connecting to the local network.
“Built on Dell Wyse software technology already used on millions of devices, Project Ophelia transforms ordinary displays into a window to entertainment, communications and a person’s own personal cloud,” the company said in January. “The product addresses a variety of uses being fueled by the growing need to access cloud-based apps and resources at any time, or whenever a larger screen high definition digital display provides a superb user experience.”
The device features 8 GB of internal storage and a microSD card slot for adding more. Powering this stick-sized PC is an SoC with two Cortex-A9 cores clocked at 1.6 GHz, and Android 4.1.2 “Jelly Bean.” That said, don’t expect to use that microSD card slot to shove apps off the main internal storage – Google nuked that App2SD support feature reportedly due to memory issues with Jelly Bean’s initial release.
Jeff McNaught, executive director of cloud client computing at Dell, told the IDG News Service that Project Ophelia will ship in July. It was developed to be an inexpensive alternative to tablets and PCs, he said, and comes with Wyse’s PocketCloud, which allows users to access files stored on PCs, servers or mobile devices.
“We’ve done a number of things in the software of the product and outside that will make it interesting,” he added.
The first units shipping in July will be for developers that want to write Android apps specifically for Ophelia. Then in August, Dell will release the Android pocket PC to cable companies and telecom providers that may want to offer it in cable packages and data plans. After that, the gadget will be offered to consumers on Dell’s website.
The company also plans to pitch Ophelia as a pocket-sized client to the Enterprise sector based on a set of features that will allow IT administrators to manage and secure the device. “We want to make sure when we release the product that it’s perfect. The enterprise is one market we understand,” McNaught said.
According to the original announcement, Project Ophelia securely connects to Windows desktops and applications running on back-end systems from all leading infrastructure providers including Citrix, Microsoft and VMware. It’s also managed by Dell Wyse Cloud Client Manager software-as-a-service (SaaS), which can ensure the device is being used by the appropriate person with the right permissions and access to apps and content based on role, department, and location.