This summer is all about grilling up new ideas, but I'm not talking about the latest Shish Kebab recipe, I'm talking about Dell's Android-on-a-stick, Project Ophelia. We first heard of Project Ophelia all the way back in February, and it made us wonder if such a product would be the way of the future. Google apparently thought that might be the case, but modified the idea just a bit with the $35 Chromecast, which was announced just last week. Dell has just started shipping Project Ophelia out to testers, and says that the product will be available to consumers in the coming months.
Dell's Project Ophelia is a full-out USB-sized computer running Android that plugs directly into your TVs HDMI port (or any other monitor with an HDMI port for that matter). It's powered by Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, so the OS is unfortunately a little bit dated when compared with what's available now (Android 4.3). Even though it may be powered by an outdated version of Android, it's still got access to the Google Play Store, meaning you can load tons of apps onto this little stick and use them on your TV. Dell's product is a little more expensive than Chromecast, coming in at around $100, but it offers more functionality when used right.
What really differentiates Dell's Project Ophelia from something like Chromecast or any of the other Android-powered USB computers out there? Simply put, access to Dell's Wyse cloud computing service. This service is powered by Dell's cloud infrastructure and allows users to remotely access files on computers, virtual machines and servers wherever they have the Dell Wyse service enabled. This means you get easy access to your files from your TV without any hassle. Since it's being geared toward enterprise users this setup makes a lot of sense considering the Dell Wyse cloud tech is geared toward the same user base.
This might be one of the last bastions for Dell. They've tried a number of things in the past that never really took off, including even launching their own lineup of Android phones and tablets a while back. With the state of the PC market continually declining to make room for smartphones, tablets and other alternative computing technologies, Dell needs to get a foothold in an emerging market and be a big player there. Considering Google is the first big player to enter the USB computing market, Dell might have a solid chance if it markets this thing correctly.