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Meet "Ophelia," Dell's Plan To Reinvent Itself

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the step-right-up dept.

Businesses 280

redletterdave writes "Dell is reportedly working on a project codenamed 'Ophelia,' a USB stick-sized self-contained computer that provides access to virtually every major operating system — from the Mac OS, to Windows, to Google's Chrome OS, to cloud-based solutions from Citrix and Dell — all via the cloud. Powered by Android, Ophelia works just like a USB stick: Just plug it into any flat panel monitor or TV, and boom, you have a computer. Ophelia connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi, and can connect to keyboards and other peripherals over Bluetooth. Not only is the computer portable and power-efficient, but to make it truly accessible, Dell plans to sell the device for just $50."

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Been Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42611815)

I'm pretty sure this has been done before.

Re:Been Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42611877)

A USB-sized dumb terminal with integrated WiFi for $50? I don't think so.

Re:Been Done (5, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | about 2 years ago | (#42611891)

Yeah, even if this is useful as just a web browser, this is going to be a market changer.

Re:Been Done (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612193)

Probably more things like that. As for running Windows, it's not gonna happen. Always needing an internet connection, a desk with a free monitor and keyboard (that doesn't already have a computer), having extra network lag and basically no 3D acceleration, it's really expensive to run Windows that way. Instead of $400 towers (which include the Windows license) that last for 5+ years, now I need vSphere licenses, veeam licenses, a very expensive SAN and tons of super expensive server grade hardware to create my own cloud. Then loads of windows server licenses that cost far more than desktop licenses, tons of expensive CALs, very expensive terminal server and/or citrix CALs and so on. It would end up costing more and it would limit us in many ways.

Or qemu and a garage sale tower (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 years ago | (#42612657)

nstead of $400 towers (which include the Windows license) that last for 5+ years, now I need vSphere licenses, veeam licenses, a very expensive SAN and tons of super expensive server grade hardware to create my own cloud. Then loads of windows server licenses that cost far more than desktop licenses, tons of expensive CALs, very expensive terminal server and/or citrix CALs and so on. It would end up costing more and it would limit us in many ways.

Or a qemu license (free) and cheap craigslist towers now have hardware acceleration in CPU. No 3D acceleration, that's true, so not good for gamers. Personally, I'm not a gamer, so I use exactly zero 3 D applications.
I see it as filling a niche not quite served by tablets (if you want a screen larger than your hand) and not ideally served by desktops.

Re:Been Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612603)

IF this works, tv manufacturers will just install android or another os by default. Many tvs already have web capability and support bluetooth keyboards and mice.

What would be better would be a usb stick that lets you use your tablet over your tv, with the tablet operating as the input device, and the tv as the monitor.

REALLY? (2, Insightful)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 2 years ago | (#42612869)

Sounds like a glorified WebTV device. Dell has been going down the shitter for years turning out trash hardware.

Re:Been Done (4, Informative)

hjf (703092) | about 2 years ago | (#42611933)

Re:Been Done (3, Informative)

nihaopaul (782885) | about 2 years ago | (#42612297)

I've got the next one up. Mygica a11 I like it a lot. Very fast. I put plex for android on it. 3 USB ports. HDMI port. No sperate audio jack but that's OK. Was half the cost of the apple TV and also has airplay on it.

Re:Been Done (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#42612311)

If(and it isn't a small if, you run screaming from Dell software for a reason) Dell can get the software working properly, I'll give them that.

As you note, assorted Android-powered 'stick PC' products(the mk802 is sort of the 'kleenex' of the category; but the array of model numbers and knock-offs is frankly rather dizzying) are done to hell and back by now, and cheap too.

The quality of their firmware, however, might charitably be described as 'downmarket'. I'd assume that Dell will manage to clean things up a bit; but it would fail to surprise me if(once you've glommed on some CALs and VM rentals and assorted bullshit-as-a-service stuff, you'll be right back up to where corporate thin clients have always cost, only a bit smaller this time).

Re:Been Done - NOT with Bluetooth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612543)

Ophelia's bluetooth is a definite advantage over about all the USB Android sticks I have been looking at like the MK802 variants.

YMMV

Re:Been Done - NOT with Bluetooth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612635)

RK3066 models are bluetooth enabled even though some don't mention it.

Re:Been Done (5, Insightful)

pepty (1976012) | about 2 years ago | (#42612375)

I'm guessing $50 gets you the terminal but there will be a monthly charge for the OS and applications cloud.

Sounds (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42611843)

like raspberry pi in a box

Re:Sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612035)

A very, very small box. I wouldn't call the RPi "USB-sized".

Re: Sounds (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#42612327)

It would be if you stripped out all the stuff that makes a pi cool.

Re:Sounds (2)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#42612455)

Why not? "USB-sized" is a meaningless term after all.

Surely a raspberry pi is larger than the tiny USB dongle that does bluetooth plugged into my laptop, but smaller than the USB HDD also plugged into the same laptop.

Re:Sounds (1)

randomErr (172078) | about 2 years ago | (#42612537)

I would think something like this [dx.com] would be better then a USB stick. That way you can get a physical network connection and you don't have mouse, keyboard, headphone or any other USB cables hanging on one USB port.

done that (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 2 years ago | (#42611849)

works for Hulu and such. pain to learn/install, but it's cheap enuf.

well, this article's lost it (3, Interesting)

ThorGod (456163) | about 2 years ago | (#42611865)

PCs are cumbersome, heavy and slow. Ophelia provides a computer experience as typical and fast as any other computer -- again, everything depends on the Internet connection -- but at a fraction of the weight. PCs can’t fit in your pocket; Ophelia can. Heck, you could probably stick anywhere between two to five of those computers into a normal pants pocket.

1.) Talk about hyperbole, batman.
2.) I imagine the lag will be horrendous.
3.) Over wireless?

Re:well, this article's lost it (3, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#42611975)

PCs are cumbersome, heavy and slow. Ophelia provides a computer experience as typical and fast as any other computer -- again, everything depends on the Internet connection -- but at a fraction of the weight. PCs can’t fit in your pocket; Ophelia can. Heck, you could probably stick anywhere between two to five of those computers into a normal pants pocket.

1.) Talk about hyperbole, batman.
2.) I imagine the lag will be horrendous.
3.) Over wireless?

I regularly VPN over my home Wifi connection to work and run Windows remotely via rdp and it works quite well. Not quite as snappy as a long machine, but works well enough that I don't bother to bring my Windows laptop home to do work, I just remote into the terminal server at work.

It's a lot less seamless over a celluar Mifi device, but still usable.

I don't see why this device wouldn't be usable.

The cellular data bill (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42612059)

It's a lot less seamless over a celluar Mifi device, but still usable.

I don't see why this device wouldn't be usable.

I'm under the impression that the the cellular data bill (assuming the U.S. market, where Dell and Dice are headquartered) would make it cost prohibitive.

Re:The cellular data bill (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#42612213)

It's a lot less seamless over a celluar Mifi device, but still usable.

I don't see why this device wouldn't be usable.

I'm under the impression that the the cellular data bill (assuming the U.S. market, where Dell and Dice are headquartered) would make it cost prohibitive.

I have no idea how much my work pays for my Mifi, so I was commenting on the usability of RDP over cell, not the price, but I think few people will have an HD TV without also having a hardwired internet connection.

Re:well, this article's lost it (2)

ThorGod (456163) | about 2 years ago | (#42612091)

I forget the name of the place...but there was someone trying to sell game streaming like this. Their hardware would run the games and the results were piped to you. But that company went out of business from lack of demand, with many user complaints centered on lag.

So...color me skeptical.

Maybe this will have a niche with people like my dad? He definitely needs a familiar interface and doesn't care about gaming...

Re:well, this article's lost it (2)

DaTrueDave (992134) | about 2 years ago | (#42612663)

http://www.onlive.com/ [onlive.com]
It's still up and running and seems to be doing a brisk business... I've never used it, though. But I'm going to check it out right now!

Re:well, this article's lost it (1)

scdeimos (632778) | about 2 years ago | (#42612153)

Second this. I work from home two or three days a week, using a Linux or OSX client (depending on what I have with me at the time) to RDP over a VPN link over ADSL to my Windows-based development machines at the office. Quite usable as a desktop environment, although it cannot be used for anything remotely video-intensive like games or YouTube.

That said, even for just desktop use there are huge speed/latency differences between various RDP clients. I've tried several on Linux and haven't found one that works as well as the one built into OSX.

Re:well, this article's lost it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612867)

There is rea;ly only two for linux. rdesktop amd freerdp which is a fork of the former. Personally, I find running ultravnc server on windows and tightvnc clientnwith the right settings stomps rdp. Don't knock it 'til you (correctly) try it.

Re:well, Dell lost it (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | about 2 years ago | (#42612079)

They expect me to do serious "desktop work" via portable high-latency device in the 'cloud' environment using Android?

Re:well, Dell lost it (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#42612117)

They expect me to do serious "desktop work" via portable high-latency device in the 'cloud' environment using Android?

Why do you care what operating system runs on the device? You're doing your work on the desktop running on the cloud, the Dell box is just the display for that remote cloud desktop. It coudl be Android, IOS, WebOS, or even a new DellOS and it shouldn't make any difference at all to the end user.

Re:well, this article's lost it (1)

JanneM (7445) | about 2 years ago | (#42612233)

I do ssh and X forwarding to machines across the country on a daily basis for work. Works just fine, even with fairly graphical applications. Other types of desktop forwarding should work similarly well in practice.

Re: well, this article's lost it (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#42612363)

Except they're not doing ssh or x forwarding, they must be doing vnc. VNC is usable, but not particularly nice much of the time over regular coonnections.

Re:well, this article's lost it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612265)

Sounds like a solution looking for a problem.
  They claim "PCs are slow" then try and tout Ophelia as "As fast as any other computer" Does that mean Ophelia is slow?
PCs are heavy, so frigging what? How often do you need to drag a desktop computer around with you?
And "you could probably stick anywhere between two to five of those computers into a normal pants pocket" Is that including the 2-5 bluetooth keyboards you need ?

I just want to punch anyone that trys to tout things using the word "Cloud". What happens when there's a problem with their servers, or there's a problem with your broadband?
  Hell, what happens when they decide to pull the plug on the whole thing?

Re:well, this article's lost it (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 2 years ago | (#42612697)

RDP via VPN is very usable, and it will only get better. RDP from windows to windows machines is very, very good. It's one of the very few things Microsoft does better than anybody else. VirtualBox has excellent RDP support as well, and it's extremely fast and easy to use.
 
Thin clients have finally arrived... just in a way nobody ever expected.

Re:well, this article's lost it (1)

MikeB0Lton (962403) | about 2 years ago | (#42612879)

If it is anything like Teradici PCoIP, it'll be great. A great many PC users out there just get one so they can browse the web, check Facebook, and use MS Office. None of these require extensive bandwidth to present to a thin client.

Latency? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42611875)

Seems like that would be a huge issue.

Licensing & Latency (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42611879)

The two biggest roadblocks to Ophelia - besides most LCD's not supporting this type of USB connection - is licensing these multiple OS's on the cloud and the inherent latencies that are going to hound such a small CPU while it tries to handle graphics, WiFi & Bluetooth network stacks and the throughput of data. $50 is a wonderful price for the hardware. What will the services end of this product cost?

Re:Licensing & Latency (1)

Cryacin (657549) | about 2 years ago | (#42611909)

Doesn't this sound like a great opportunity for a Linux distro? Or is Linux not better than a multi hundred dollar windoze license?

Re:Licensing & Latency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42611979)

The device has no storage to speak of, though it is an Android device so it has to store the OS somewhere. Why would people want to run a Linux distro via "the cloud" rather than an OS they are already familiar with? (not trolling, just sayin')

It may be able to hit the internet & webmail via Android (if they have any sense at all), but if they are targeting popular consumer OS's then they probably won't be targeting Linux sinse Raspberry Pi already does this.

Re:Licensing & Latency (5, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#42612087)

The two biggest roadblocks to Ophelia - besides most LCD's not supporting this type of USB connection - is licensing these multiple OS's on the cloud and the inherent latencies that are going to hound such a small CPU while it tries to handle graphics, WiFi & Bluetooth network stacks and the throughput of data. $50 is a wonderful price for the hardware. What will the services end of this product cost?

Amazon will rent you an entire virtual Win Server 2008 server for around 12 cents/hour - presumably desktop pricing would be lower, but if a typical home user uses their desktop for 4 hours/day, that's around $15/month at 12 cents/hour.

Re:Licensing & Latency (1, Informative)

scdeimos (632778) | about 2 years ago | (#42612167)

The two biggest roadblocks to Ophelia - besides most LCD's not supporting this type of USB connection...

It's a USB-[thumbdrive-]sized device. If you looked at the picture it's got a HDMI connector on it.

Re: Licensing & Latency (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 2 years ago | (#42612411)

Actually, $50 is kind of a ridiculously high price for this. A raspberry pi is $25 and can do more than act as a dumb terminal.

Dell isn't going to reinvent itself by convincing everyone to stop buying $300 laptops from them and start buying $50 USB sticks. They're going to have to charge a decent amount for service.

The "Cloud" (5, Insightful)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about 2 years ago | (#42611887)

I can't be the only one who's creeped out about this. All my data in "the cloud"... I know, I know, it's been going on for years, but me, I like my data on my own machine away from anyone else. The is just more devolution of the power of the individual & transferring it to others, who may not necessarily have the individual's best interests in mind. Keep your little machine Dell.

Re:The "Cloud" (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | about 2 years ago | (#42611957)

V2.0, no doubt destined for Kickstarter momentarily courtesy of some local hacker, would probably have onboard storage for your data to deal with just such a concern.

Re:The "Cloud" (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#42612019)

I can't be the only one who's creeped out about this. All my data in "the cloud"... I know, I know, it's been going on for years, but me, I like my data on my own machine away from anyone else. The is just more devolution of the power of the individual & transferring it to others, who may not necessarily have the individual's best interests in mind. Keep your little machine Dell.

You may not be the only one who's afraid of the cloud, but for most people, their data is safer in the "cloud" than it is at home on their old PC that has no backups. It could even be safer against hack attacks if the provider keeps applications patched so no one is still running a buggy unpatched MSIE 6 on WinXP.

Re:The "Cloud" (4, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42612355)

even better, when they screw up and delete something they did not mean to, and go looking for it later, they have someone to blame

Re:The "Cloud" (1)

multiben (1916126) | about 2 years ago | (#42612039)

I could not agree with you more. There are just too many people in between you and your data who could either accidentally or deliberately prevent you accessing it.

Re:The "Cloud" (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 2 years ago | (#42612205)

I can't be the only one who's creeped out about this. All my data in "the cloud".

Then you're not the target market. For the vast majority, I'm will to guess the providers will have better backup procedures than most homes.

Re:The "Cloud" (1, Insightful)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about 2 years ago | (#42612471)

And better data mining techniques too. Anyone who believes that Dell or any other company doing something like this (Apple) won't leverage this level of control into dictating what the user sees is engaging in wishful thinking. Consheepmers might see the device as a convenience, but Dell will see it as a marketing tool & will be in total control of whatever information it provides. This whole movement away from PCs to handheld devices (tablets/smartphones) represents a paradigm shift away from local control & content creation, to remote control & content consumption. The Idiocracy has begun.

Re:The "Cloud" (0)

sed quid in infernos (1167989) | about 2 years ago | (#42612667)

"Consheepmers" was old the first time you used it.

Re:The "Cloud" (1)

ADRA (37398) | about 2 years ago | (#42612331)

You weren't going to buy it anyways, so was anything of value lost?

Re:The "Cloud" (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42612501)

Your hardware is the only way to get to words before they are encrypted.
Who wants to pass packets loaded with ad revenue as just another computer maker?
The cash is in the content and with a device like this data is still in plain text before its lost to encryption.
Contact your HQ about a cpu, gpu deal in a "secure" way and then surf the web in a hotel room - that brand will be back at you all night.
Your message was secure, your later web surfing was unrelated to work - but the gateway, cookies, cloud are all legal in any tracking due to the fine print you clicked past.

Re:The "Cloud" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612591)

It isn't just your data that is at risk. You are at risk of having your computing activities more extensively monitored and datamined. We can exercise some control over software when if it resides on our own devices. The more programs and tasks shift to being run from the cloud, the less visibility and control users will have.

For only $50.00 (1)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | about 2 years ago | (#42611905)

I'm sure they are planning on making money some other way. Mining for information for starters!

Mac OS my a$$ (4, Insightful)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 2 years ago | (#42611939)

I'm willing to bet very, very many internets that Apple hasn't authorized any Mac OS running from this device.
Not.
Gonna.
Happen.

Re:Mac OS my a$$ (2)

p0p0 (1841106) | about 2 years ago | (#42611967)

Don't need to RTFA but at least RTFS properly.

VNC (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42612003)

How would the community react if the license for the next version of Mac OS X were to forbid VNCing to a Mac from anything but a Mac?

Re:VNC (3, Informative)

scdeimos (632778) | about 2 years ago | (#42612301)

First Apple doesn't own the VNC technology, so they can't legally enforce that.

Second, although OSX's "remote desktop" software listens on VNC's tcp/5900 for incoming connections, for remote OSX clients it uses Apple's custom Type 35 Diffie-Hellman authentication/private key exchange and then switches to an AES128-encrypted link to run Apple's own RDP protocol. i.e.: it's not even VNC protocol.

Re:VNC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612517)

Apple can allow or deny anything they want. Private corporations don't have to answer to fucktards on slashdot you know.

Apple knows how to win a lawsuit (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42612651)

First Apple doesn't own the VNC technology, so they can't legally enforce that.

Nor does Apple own the EFI technology, yet it won in Apple v. Psystar.

Re:Mac OS my a$$ (1)

miroku000 (2791465) | about 2 years ago | (#42612055)

I'm willing to bet very, very many internets that Apple hasn't authorized any Mac OS running from this device. Not. Gonna. Happen.

1. They don't necessarily have to authorize it. Someone could just make something like gotomypc 2. They may in fact be developing a cloud based version of the Mac OS http://gigaom.com/2011/01/05/imaging-a-cloud-based-future-for-mac-os-x/ [gigaom.com] Though, they may or may not want to make it easy for people to access it via devices like this.

Re:Mac OS my a$$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612149)

Right. Apple is still a hardware company. That's where the lions share of their profit comes from and the services and such are just a means to sell more hardware. I doubt that Ophelia will be a threat to Apple's hardware sales as I believe a good portion of the reason people buy Apple hardware is so they can be seen with Apple hardware. Still, I would bet Apple won't be happy about this and will sue. That's just what they do.

Re:Mac OS my a$$ (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#42612093)

MacOS won't be running from this device. It'll be running from a Mac, which this device will be a remote terminal to.

Re:Mac OS my a$$ (1)

ghjm (8918) | about 2 years ago | (#42612283)

It wouldn't be running from this device. Dell would, notionally, have rack cabinets full of Mac Minis in some data center somewhere. To the user, it's all just the "cloud."

I should have been more clear (1)

Radical Moderate (563286) | about 2 years ago | (#42612451)

Connecting to your personal Mac will probably happen. Even is Apple doesn't like it, somebody will figure out a hack.

Dell, or anyone else, setting up virtual Macs for you and me to use? No. I've been in several meetings with Apple reps, and whenever we bring up virtualization things get real awkward. Unless Apple decides to set up the servers themselves, and that they're tired of selling iMacs and iBooks.

Re:I should have been more clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612625)

Who said anything about virtualization? Dell could just buy MacStadium or otherwise arrange to have thousands of *physical* Mac Minis in a data center somewhere.

Re:Mac OS my a$$ (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#42612531)

Remember, MacOS is on the slow-kill list. It's been slowly merging with iOS and Apple doesn't want to develop two OS's. If 'Mac' still exists in 10 years, it might be the iPhone having a 'Mac Mode' where to goes full-screen to a wirelessly-connected K/V/M. But for 'pros' who need more CPU, rather than building it into the phone (where it will eat power and transistor budget) they might offer the option to buy compute power from the cloud (with Apple taking 30% of whatever anybody makes on it).

In fact, if a $50 Dell dongle has the CPU power to do a 'Mac Mode', we could even see this launching in June on the next iPhone from Apple. Sure, they make a good profit on every hardware Mac they sell, but if they can make the same profit by renting the hardware time and expand their userbase to every iPhone user (with seamless data sync, naturally) then they'll go for the better revenue stream. That will make the phase-out of the Mac that much easier.

Apple dropped "computer" from its name in 2007, when the iPhone was just starting its upward trajectory and the iPod was on fire. A lot changed that year, as the company changed its primary focus to mobile and outlined a long-term plan to leave the desktop market.

Re:Mac OS my a$$ (4, Informative)

Princeofcups (150855) | about 2 years ago | (#42612555)

I'm willing to bet very, very many internets that Apple hasn't authorized any Mac OS running from this device.

Not.
Gonna.
Happen.

Don't
Understand.
Device.

It's just a linux boot running VNC client. The actual workstations are back in a datacenter somewhere, and they will be actual Apple certified Macs, running VNC server. I'm really amazed that no one has done this sooner. The one thing you can't do is really graphics intensive games, like shooters.

So Basically (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42611963)

They are going to reinvent booting from the thumb drive, but from the cloud. Sure, some of the traits sound neat. I'd even be tempted to get one to tinker with. But frankly, I don't really see a huge demand for booting from a USB persistently now, and I certainly don't think it is some huge untapped area.

Captcha: Double

Odd choice of name.... (3, Insightful)

Eightbitgnosis (1571875) | about 2 years ago | (#42611977)

The first thing I think of when I hear the name is going insane and dieing in a river

Re:Odd choice of name.... (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#42612571)

The Internet as Hamlet and Microsoft as Polonius?

Re:Odd choice of name.... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | about 2 years ago | (#42612851)

I think of "Little Red Bunny" and get oddly turned on by this new computer.

Dell invented the diskless workstation? (4, Insightful)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 2 years ago | (#42611985)

It really is amazing how the IT industry continues to re-invent what was done decades ago.

Re:Dell invented the diskless workstation? (4, Informative)

mattdm (1931) | about 2 years ago | (#42612025)

Actually, this apparently comes from Dell's acquisition of Wyse. That is, these guys: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/72/WyseTerminal100.jpg/220px-WyseTerminal100.jpg [wikimedia.org] -- the people who *did* do this decades ago. So, I guess, fair enough.

So what are we using for input? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42611987)

what use is a tiny computer without a way of controlling it?

Re:So what are we using for input? (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about 2 years ago | (#42612029)

I wondered the same thing. Lugging around a keyboard would defeat the purpose of portability, so I assume (I of course did not RTFA) it'll be touch-- meaning it'll require touch-enabled screens. I can't see this thing taking off.

After you eat a blue Popsicle treat... (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#42612075)

Wireless input devices have become a bit blue in the tooth.

Re:After you eat a blue Popsicle treat... (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about 2 years ago | (#42612735)

Ah, so now we'd have to not only bum someone else's monitor/TV and Internet connection just to get access to our own documents which we're not even carrying with us, but we'll need to carry a keyboard/mouse combo everywhere we go as well and stock up on even more batteries? Wow... this is just getting worse and worse.

I'll just carry get a laptop if I need a portable system, and use a real desktop--with a good old-fashioned, no-nonsense wired keyboard and mouse--for anything halfway serious.

Re:So what are we using for input? (1)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 2 years ago | (#42612313)

what use is a tiny computer without a way of controlling it?

What, Bluetooth [dell.com] doesn't count?

Two Words... (2)

Rassleholic (591097) | about 2 years ago | (#42612053)

Dumb(er) Terminal

Low bandwidth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612085)

As someone that lives in a low bandwidth/high latency area (Tarawa, Kiribati) I'm consistently frustrated by these technologies - they simply wont work in large parts of the world for a very long time.

It's fine if you are New York or Sydney or London...but in Bairiki it would be useless.

Re:Low bandwidth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612617)

LOL... if you live on some basically unknown small cluster of islands somewhere in the ocean a good distance from a major continent, then I think the least of your worries is a broadband internet connection. And I truly doubt that Dell, an American company, is targeting you anyway.

Your complaint is valid--there are a lot of places with no or poor internet connections throughout the world, including major countries--but that little piece of land surrounded by water, whatever the hell you called it, was a very bad example...

Just plug it in and boom (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42612109)

USB-sized self-contained computer revolution has arrived, all you need to take with you is a thumbstick!*

*along with HDTV, Keyboard, Mouse, and pretty damn good internet access since vnc is still a bit draggy on a gigabit lan and subscribe to a service

Re:Just plug it in and boom (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42612577)

The HDTV is in your hotel room, the keyboard, mouse is your droid, Dell pad, iPad for input linked to the Dell device and then onto a hotel or cheap local telco modem network.
The Dell part is the missing link turning your droid, iPad into a real computer, linking Tv and the net :)

An Even Better Idea (3, Funny)

mtrachtenberg (67780) | about 2 years ago | (#42612141)

Dell's R&D must be working overtime to come up with a clever new idea like that.

Here's another "someday" idea they can pursue: put a 5" crt, two floppy drives, and a Z80 in a suitcase. Call it a "portable" computer!!

...not a game changer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612271)

a device that needs other devices to do its basic function is not going to be a game changer... less so a device where the quality of the internet connection will determine the quality of the basic experience itself will be even less so.

If they baked what this thing can do into a good smartphone, *that* could be a game changer. What is on the cards methinks is a smartphone that docks a whole lot better and tighter than current offerings. There's still too much of a "copy to device" kind of thing happening, as soon as these things plug in and you use the device as if it's a full terminal, *that* will be a game changer. When not docked, you have all the data, use cut down software possible... dock it, and you can get more powerful computing but the desktop and everything is the docked device, you just get better resources of whatever you're docked into. Like, you can have photoshop files on the device, you can view the files, share... dock it, you get your desktop, and the computing power to edit the files fully but not in a "copy down, edit, then copy back up" but in a you're working from the docked device, no need for the net.

...if you just plug it into a compatible screen (tv, whatever), you simply get a better screen. Plug into a screen with a processor and a gpu, you get a screen with more computing power, plug into a screen with input devices and storage with API compatible apps then you get everything plus expanded app abilities and resources.

I feel that this may be the idea that this "game changer" is trying to be, but this flash thing isn't it because it's useless without what it's being plugged into... need to make it useful in its basic form, define the rest of the docking facilities... *then* they can take over the world.

USB, not. (5, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about 2 years ago | (#42612299)

The summary implies this somehow connects to a USB port on a monitor. I was curious how it would then do video. Answer - it doesn't use USB. It's actually made to connect to an MHL [mhlconsortium.org] port, which isn't nearly as widespread as either HDMI or USB. MHL doesn't use a specific connector - although it's quite common for it to be provided as an alternative to USB over a micro-USB connector (some smartphones do this). But, it's one or the other - you can't do both at once over a USB connector. MHL ports provide power, where HDMI ones don't (well, 5V@50mA, which ain't much) - which is the reason they're doing it that way. (there are also some proprietary connectors with more pins which will accept a USB plug, or a proprietary plug which allows simultaneous USB and MHL)

Re:USB, not. For power like other Android "Sticks" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612761)

If you read up on the mk802 class of Android USB sticks, the common design is to use mini or micro USB for power, and a lot of TV's and monitors can do that, and a HDMI plug on one end for the video/audio output directly (or with short extension cable), plus a full-size USB host receptacle for keyboards, mice, and other peripherals (since most of the mk802-ish devices lack bluetooth - score one for Dell for adding that). These are mid-range Androids without the screen in essence.

Also, reading Amazon customer reviews for a lot of these sticks, I have seen a lot of praise for their capability, and a lot of buyers are using them as (semi-)dedicated Android "stations" with a TV. The portability does not seem to be a big factor in most reviews since the issue noted here with peripherals for input and for viewing is a real hindrance, but not a show-stopper. The flexibility and potential is already being realized with a lot of similar sticks.

How "ORIGINAL" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612319)

Yeah, there's no other company doing this. Nope, no sir, no one on the planet Earth besides Dell has thought of putting a SOC on a USB stick that runs Android. Surely this will take off and make the company bil- wait? There's others that have done this, to no great success, but plenty of other companies are trying? And it's a fantastically easy market to enter, one with no consumer demand as of yet and uncertainty in the future?

Well... uhm. How about that leveraged buyout eh? I'm sure THAT will save Dell!

Dell selling Android devices is like... (1)

jkrise (535370) | about 2 years ago | (#42612353)

Apple selling Android devices.

This is just an announcement at CES. Doesn't mean shit. Dell stopped shipping Linux tablets... why? Dell makes Linux laptops pricier and more difficult to get than Windows ones...why?

So Dell is planning to 'reinvent' itself on an Android based Rapberry-Pi kind of form factor device; which it hopes people will buy from Dell despite its name rhyming with Hell? Good. I'll believe it when I see it.

Re:Dell selling Android devices is like...OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612641)

Been enjoying my Dell Streak 5 for almost a year now. Maybe it is an orphan, but the build quality is good, and I actually like the Android 2.2 (rooted, of course) better than ICS on my Archos G9 80 (about same form factor as iPad Mini, although thicker) in a lot of ways. Dell just could not market the damn things.

YMMV

"self-contained" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612385)

"self-contained", but needs "the cloud"...

I'm not sure how much of a game-changer this is (1)

Luminary Crush (109477) | about 2 years ago | (#42612397)

It's from Wyse, so it's basically a "thin client". Don't get me wrong, Wyse makes good thin clients, but it's not fundamentally different than anything out there already. It's basically a way to run "VDI" (Virtual Desktop Interface) from your pocket.

OK, cool enough, but I can already do that with an app on my smart phone. I can run a plethora of thin client software - Citrix, VMware, Webex, PCAnywhere, Microsoft RDP, VNC... what else? The only unique thing I see here is that you can attach to a larger external screen. With an iPhone you can do that via an Apple TV with mirroring. The experience isn't fantastic but it's only a matter of time for that architecture to improve (same with Android equivalents).

I do not see myself carrying yet another device. I could see myself using my phone this way if the external graphics worked better - and there is nothing technically stopping that from happening now.

Apple or Google/Android could blink and destroy the market for this device.

Re:I'm not sure how much of a game-changer this is (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42612649)

It does turn Google and Apple device into nothing more than $200-1000 dumb input units.
Your international computer is now a Dell and friends of Dell out of the box.
Its all race to the default settings and who gets closer to the user before they https.

and boom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612437)

you've got another chinese android stick without the benefits of hdmi.

Seems the landscape of major players is on the move in the states with a number of the big boys choosing suicide as the next big thing. Is there a new financial instrument that bypasses insider trading rules so the easiest way to cash out is to pump and dump the company?

Only $50 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612513)

(after a $150 mail-in rebate you'll receive Direct from Dell).

(First 10,000 customers will also be eligible for Dell's Football Kickoff Challenge. Lucy from Peanuts will placehold).

Great plan Dell (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#42612529)

Reinvent yourself by copying cheap Chinese products that are already available for ~$45 and charging 10% more.

Dell to make 3270 (1)

0xdeaddead (797696) | about 2 years ago | (#42612539)

citrix still controls the 'win' (mainframe)...

A little late (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612585)

I can hook my phone up via HDMI to my TV with a dongle, how does this do anything different that's beneficial?

Like. (1)

hantms (2527172) | about 2 years ago | (#42612633)

I like it. Many Chinese/Taiwanese manufacturers already offer this, either as a HDMI stick or small set-top box running Android, but Dell just has more clout to make the hardware rock solid, make it work very well with the OS and seamless cloud offerings. I'd get this on day one and breathe some life into my TVs.

Just give me a Raspberry Pi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42612671)

Just give me a Raspberry Pi with a better cpu and more ram for $50 and I'll build my own mini self-contained computer.

yes, I know there are other diy boards aout there

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