Dell's thumb-size PC, Project Ophelia, ships to testers

Dell hopes to bring PC, media player and gaming console functionality to its thumb-size PC

Dell's Project Ophelia thumb-sized PC

Dell's Project Ophelia thumb-sized PC

Dell has started shipping its thumb-size PC called Project Ophelia to beta testers and is preparing to ship the final product in the coming months.

Ophelia looks much like a USB stick and it can turn any screen or display with an HDMI port into a PC, gaming machine or streaming media player. The thumb PC runs on the Android OS and once it is plugged into an HDMI port, users can run applications, play games, watch streaming movies or access files stored in the cloud.

The final product will ship during the next fiscal quarter, which runs from August through October, a Dell spokesman said in an e-mail. The device has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity options.

Priced at about $US100, Dell hopes Ophelia will be an inexpensive alternative to PCs, whose shipments are falling with the growing adoption of tablets and smartphones. With more data now being stored in the cloud, Dell hopes the idea of a keychain PC will catch on, especially for those who do most of their computing on the Web.

The device will also compete with Google's recently announced Chromecast media streaming device, which is priced at $35 and also the size of a thumb drive. With Ophelia, users will be able to run Android games or stream movies from Hulu or Netflix, and even download apps, movies and TV shows from the Google Play store.

One of the value propositions of Ophelia is that it is a lightweight PC alternative, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

"Being able to carry their desktop in their pocket rather than having to lug it around would perhaps make a great deal of sense," King said.

Ophelia won't offer high-end performance, but it has Android and can take advantage of an applications stack already installed on many smartphones and tablets, King said, adding that for some, that is more than enough.

Ophelia could also be attractive to companies looking to cut costs or trying to escape PC upgrades to Windows 8, King said.

"A lot of businesses are faced with whether or not they want to move on to Windows 8 and buy the necessary equipment," King said.

Ophelia takes that upgrade cycle in a "radical direction" by replacing PCs with a pocket-size thin client, and Windows with the Android OS, King said.

Dell has demonstrated Ophelia running on 19-inch and 55-inch screens. The company said it will offer hands-on demonstrations at future trade shows in which the company participates.

Dell also hopes to build in some enterprise features to differentiate Ophelia from other consumer-focused thumb PCs, many of which are based on Android.

For example, IT administrators will have the ability to manage and secure the device. Much like a smartphone, if the thumb PC is lost or stolen, IT administrators will be able to remotely shut down the device and wipe it clean. Dell is also building features so IT can track the activities on the device.

Ophelia will also come with Wyse's PocketCloud, which allows users to access files stored on PCs, servers or mobile devices.

The device could be attractive to sales staff, field personnel, and maintenance crews, King said.

Dell has said it will sell Ophelia through its website and also through wireless carriers and cable companies. Dell originally announced Project Ophelia at the International CES in January.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Dellhardware systems

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?