Merely days after Google revealed its Chromecast device, Dell has started shipping test units of its own take on the "computer on a stick" concept. Named Project Ophelia, the Android-powered thumb PC is aimed to be an affordable, lightweight PC alternative, according to Pund-IT principal analyst Charles King.
First announced at the Consumer Electronic Show last January, Project Ophelia is a device the size of a USB stick. Once attached via HDMI, Ophelia turns any screen or display into a personal computer, a workstation, a media player, or a gaming box. Running on Android, Ophelia is able to harness the power of a familiar OS, allowing users to download and install apps, stream movies or play games as they would on their gadgets.
Project Ophelia might be one of Dell's measures to address the continued rise of smartphones and tablets that have taken a huge bite from their PC market. The company is hoping that the idea of small thumb-sized computers will catch on as more people take to the cloud for data storage. Priced at $100, Ophelia will definitely not be competing with regular PCs. Instead, Dell will be targeting sales staff, field personnel, or maintenance workers. Ophelia could also be enticing to companies who are looking for more affordable alternatives or who are trying to avoid the cost of upgrading office computers to Windows 8.
Dell plans on developing features that will differentiate Ophelia and make it interesting for enterprise customers. This could include allowing IT administrators to lock down or wipe a device in case of loss or theft. Another feature could be the ability to log and track activities on the device. Once available to the public, Ophelia will be sold through Dell's website as well as through certain partners.