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

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  • by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @09:44PM (#42612025) Homepage

    Actually, this apparently comes from Dell's acquisition of Wyse. That is, these guys: [] -- the people who *did* do this decades ago. So, I guess, fair enough.

  • by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @09:49PM (#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.

  • by scdeimos ( 632778 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @10:00PM (#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:Been Done (Score:4, Informative)

    by nihaopaul ( 782885 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @10:12PM (#42612297) Homepage

    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.

  • USB, not. (Score:5, Informative)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @10:13PM (#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 [] 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:VNC (Score:4, Informative)

    by scdeimos ( 632778 ) on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @10:13PM (#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:Mac OS my a$$ (Score:5, Informative)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @10:38PM (#42612531) Homepage Journal

    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$$ (Score:5, Informative)

    by Princeofcups ( 150855 ) <> on Wednesday January 16, 2013 @10:42PM (#42612555) Homepage

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

  • by scdeimos ( 632778 ) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @12:18AM (#42613227)
    Oops, I got suckered, it's not HDMI. It's MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link).
  • Re:Been Done (Score:5, Informative)

    by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @12:40AM (#42613387) Journal

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

    They've been on the market for a while. I have half a dozen of them, given others to family and friends as Skype terminals. []

    A lot of SMEs in parts of Asia have started using them as basic office PCs as well. I'd say Dell is trying to get on this wave before it peaks.

  • Re:Mac OS my a$$ (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2013 @01:09AM (#42613543)

    He's a certainly a complete nutjob. But the idea that home users can rent a "desktop in the cloud" for the rare times they actually need Windows/Mac compatibility is not really all that wacky.

If a thing's worth having, it's worth cheating for. -- W.C. Fields