May 21, 2013
Dell’s Pocket-Sized Ophelia Computer To Ship In July
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
At the beginning of the year, rumors began to fly about a sort of reinvention going on at Dell, including a push to go private as well as an attempt to build a PC that fits into a thumb drive and allows access to Windows, OSX, and Chrome OS.
Last Friday, PC World had a chance to speak with Dell´s executive director of cloud client computing Jeff McNaught about Project Ophelia, the USB-sized PC in question. According to McNaught, Ophelia is nearly ready to go and will begin shipping to developers for beta testing in July. If all goes well, this truly pocketable PC could be available to the public as early as August of this year.
Though the original intention of the Ophelia was to be able to run a multitude of platforms, the first edition will come equipped only with Android and will feature both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity. Ophelia can plug into any HDMI port, essentially turning any enabled screen into a thumb-sized Chromebook. Since it´s loaded with Android, users will be able to download apps from the Google Play store, such as games like Angry Birds or streaming services like Hulu or Netflix. It´s also assumed that users will be able to explore the device and open up hidden capabilities or hack it to perform whatever functionality they´d like.
According to McNaught, the customer Dell is looking to sell Ophelia to is highly Internet-savvy and wants a cheaper alternative to tablets and PCs. If this customer already owns an HDMI-enabled television or screen, Bluetooth keyboard and a wireless connection, they´ll only be out $100 for the thumb stick. Dell is also working to expand the functionality of Ophelia, including a “keyboard-like technology” which would give users a chance to use the tiny PC when docked to a screen. As it stands, users will need to connect the device to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
Dell is showing off the Ophelia this week at the Citrix Synergy conference in Los Angeles, CA which kicks off today. To give their customers access to their files, Dell is also loading Ophelia with Wyse´s PocketCloud, a cloud-based storage solution which collects data from PCs and mobile devices.
"We've done a number of things in the software of the product and outside that will make it interesting," said McNaught, speaking to PC World.
Dell isn´t only looking to ship Ophelia to the general public, however. The Austin-based computer maker will also be pitching this tiny PC to enterprise customers as a pocketable, thin client. IT workers would be able to remotely wipe this device should it ever be lost. And IT administrators would be able to look over their users´ shoulders and see where they are working and what they are working on.
After shipping Ophelia to developers who may want to write Android apps specifically for Ophelia, Dell will begin shipping these devices to cable and telecom providers who may want to package them with cable or data plans. Once developers and telecoms get their hands on Ophelia, it will be available to the public at large on Dell´s website.