Dell ships Project Ophelia: a HDMI plug-in that streams computers from the cloud

The device is being released to beta testers and will be capable of running virtual computers via the cloud

Dell, the company once synonymous with the PC market, now looks like it wants to kill the traditional desktop. It’s just shipped to beta testers the first of its Project Ophelia devices: an over-sized USB stick that turns any HDMI-capable screen into a computer running off the cloud.

First shown of at CES, the key concept behind Ophelia has been familiar to tech enthusiasts for a while (the reasoning behind the name is unknown, some wag presumably just thought the idea was insane) and is about to hit the mainstream with Google’s newly-launched Chromecast.

It goes like this: you know your TV? Isn’t it massive and didn’t you spend a lot of money on it? And don’t you use it a lot less than you use to? Well, plug this dongle into it (yes, yes, get used to using that word) with a one-two USB plus HDMI connection and boom – your TV just got computered up. 

However, with Project Ophelia Dell has one more trick up its sleeve, and that’s its cloud capacity. Last year Dell bought Wyse, a company that specialises in cloud-based computing services and virtual desktop environments.

The resulting collaboration between the two companies (Dell’s Wyse PocketCloud) means that Project Ophelia will allow users to run Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS or Android on their screen of choice.

The dongle itself will barely be ticking over (there’s not much in it beyond an ARM Cortex-A9 processor and 1GB of RAM) but on the other end of its WiFi connection Dell’s cloud servers will be running virtual computers and streaming this work over to the consumer.

Of course, this won’t be convenient (or perhaps even possible) for all users but – as Google have pushed with their Chromecast - there’s also a world of Android apps to take advantage of. Factor in the fact that more software products are becoming cloud-based services (think Microsoft’s Office becoming Office 365) and the Ophelia seems more and more plausible.

Of course, the banner headlines behind the story come with a wealth of caveats: the plug-in HDMI gizmos are still incredibly underwhelming as a user-experience; the majority of the professional business world will be sticking with traditional computers for the foreseeable future; and if connections between mobile devices and TVs become easier to access, then you may as well stick with keeping your processing power in your hand.

An extra ‘complication’ is the fact that Dell are still the world’s third-largest PC manufacturer, despite losing market share to companies like Lenovo, who have muscled in on Dell’s high-volume, low-margin business model.

Christopher Mims of Quartz has speculated that the logic of a company like Dell making the Ophelia only makes sense once you factor in that the company is in the middle of a leveraged buyout, with CEO Michael Dell attempting to things private.

Mims suggests that once the buyout is complete, the company could sell off the bits of its PC business still turning a buck and use the cash from the sales (which would add to the $14 billion they currently have) to perform a “breathtaking turnaround” and become “a company that sells services and software”.

Whether this hopeful vision for the future of Dell will ever come to pass is impossible to predict, especially with the buyout still uncertain. The final version of Ophelia is due to ship sometime in the next fiscal quarter between August and October and will cost approximately $100; if the Chromecast and similar devices prove popular in the interim, it might be launching into a receptive market - Ophelia might turn out to be not so crazy after all.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - IT Managed Services - £65,000

    £35000 per annum + OTE £65,000 +Pension: h2 Recruit Ltd: A fantastic opportuni...

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Inside Sales Manager - Accountancy Software - £80,000 OTE

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + £80,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Reading , Sou...

    Langley James : IT Support, Bradford £16k - £22k

    £16000 - £22000 per annum + Benefits: Langley James : IT Support, Bradford £16...

    Langley James : IT Sales Executive;Borehamwood;£40k(neg) uncapped comm£100k+OTE

    £40000 per annum + £100k+ OTE: Langley James : IT Sales Executive; connectivit...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
    Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

    24-Hour party person

    Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
    Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

    A taste for rebellion

    US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
    Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

    Colouring books for adults

    How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
    Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
    Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

    Call me Ed Mozart

    Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
    10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
    Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
    'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

    'I am a paedophile'

    Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital