Dell is getting ready to be the first big name PC maker (in the West) to release a stick-sized device that you can plug into a TV to turn it into an Android computer. It’s called Project Ophelia, and Dell first introduced the concept at CES in January. Now PC World reports that Project Ophelia should be available for purchase this summer for about $100.
In July Dell will offer the stick to developers. The following month it’ll be available to telecoms or cable companies interested in offering it to customers. Individual customers should be able to buy an Ophelia device directly from Dell shortly after that.
While this is the first device of its type from Dell, Chinese device makers have been offering Android TV sticks for well over a year. We’ve covered an awful lot of them at Liliputing, and there are even small developer communities writing custom apps and firmware for Android TV sticks. Some models with Allwinner A10 or Rockchip RK3066 processors can also run Ubuntu and other Linux-based operating systems.
So what is Dell bringing to the tablet that’s different?
First, Project Ophelia will come bundled with Dell’s Wyse PocketCloud software which lets you login to a remote desktop or access files from another computer. Second, Project Ophelia has MHL support, which means that if your TV supports MHL, you can plug the stick right into the HDMI port on your television and not only will it use your TV as a display, it will draw power from the television set, so you don’t need a separate power source.
While Dell is targeting consumers and television service providers, Project Ophelia could also work as a thin client solution for businesses looking for an inexpensive alternative to giving each employee a full workstation.
The Project Ophelia stick includes WiFi and Bluetooth, and according to PC World, Dell is working on some sort of solution that lets you type on your TV (It’s not clear if this is a remote control, a physical keyboard, or some other way of navigating with Android’s on-screen keyboard).
Dell’s Android stick will ship with access to the Google Play Store and will let users install games, video streaming apps like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and more.
Dell hasn’t yet release specs such as the processor, version of Android, or amount of RAM in Project Ophelia yet. We also don’t know the final name yet — I suspect Dell will drop the “Project” at some point.
If you’ve been intrigued by the Android TV sticks coming out of China, but you’ve been wary of buying from a brand you’ve never heard of such as Rikomagic or Tronsmart, Dell’s solution could be an interesting alternative. On the other hand, those Chinese models have come a long way in the past year. I’d take a Tronsmart MK908 with a Rockchip RK3188 quad-core processor over a Google TV set-top-box any day.
via The Verge