Dell’s thumb PC, called ‘Project Ophelia’, is getting close to being released. New rumors suggest the device will be launched a couple of months from now, in July, for only about $100.
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The most important thing I can take from this, and what I think is really good for Dell in the long run, is that it seems Microsoft’s $2 billion investment didn’t influence their decisions to make Android devices (again) or launch new Ubuntu laptops. This is great for Dell, because continuing to use Microsoft-only operating systems would be really short sighted of them, and they’d be making the exact same mistake Nokia did when they decide to go WP-exclusive, instead of at least also building some Android devices.
Dell is not doing too well in the PC market right now, and the PC market itself is not doing great either, and keeps declining. Obviously, Dell needs to keep thinking outside of the box here, and experiment with all sorts of things, whether that’s Ubuntu laptops, Chromebooks or Android thumb PC’s and notebooks (perhaps later this year).
So far only less known or much smaller companies have attempted to make Android thumb PC’s, and Dell would probably be the largest one yet to do so. If Android thumb PC’s are going to become a thing, this puts Dell in a very good position.
Of course, Dell needs to also stop making mediocre products, even at low prices. If they are going to make a $100 Android thumb PC, then they better make sure they make the best one out there for the price. They can take advantage of their scale and negotiation power to lower the costs of higher end components, and still be profitable with such a device. Android may be a much leaner operating system than Windows and desktop Ubuntu, but you still need bit of performance to load websites fast and open up modern apps.
One thing that might not make this device very popular from day one is the Android version itself. I don’t think Android is optimized enough for 10″ screens and larger, especially if you want to use the OS as a PC OS, with a mouse and keyboard. The UI interactions of Android are just not very suited for that right now. However, I do think Google knows about this issue, and they plan to rectify it with Android 5.0. But that OS won’t be released until fall (if it will even be released this year, and not delayed more), and Dell is planning to launch this thumb PC in July.
So I’m sure Dell will be doing their own optimizations to the UI, and add their own apps, especially since they seem to be more interested in targetting this device at the enterprise market. Although, the device will come with all the Google apps and services, so it will have access to the Play Store, and all the apps in there.