Project Ophelia is a small device that looks like a chunky USB flash drive, but instead of a USB connector, it has an HDMI adapter on one end and a USB input port on the other. Plug the HDMI end into your TV or monitor, hook up a mouse and keyboard and you’ve basically got yourself a tiny PC.
The device ships with Google Android and you can use it to run Android apps, surf the web, watch videos, or perform other basic functions.
We’ve seen many similar devices from Chinese manufacturers in the past year or so.
But there are at least two things that could make Dell’s Project Ophelia stand out:
- It comes from a well-known western PC maker.
- Dell is emphasizing its Wyse PocketCloud software, which lets you login to a remote PC, effectively using the little Android PC as if it were a Mac or Windows desktop.
Theoretically you could install Splashtop, TeamViewer, LogMein, or another remote desktop app on any Android TV stick, but it could be nice to have one that comes with the software pre-loaded.
More importantly, Dell has more name recognition in the US than companies like Rikomagic and Tronsmart, and that could help the company move some devices. Hopefully Dell will also offer more support for its Android stick than you might expect from some other companies.
Dell plans to sell the Project Ophelia device to the public starting in a few months, with a price tag around $100. While it could be attractive to consumers looking for a more versatile way to turn a TV into a Smart TV than you get with a Chromecast, Dell is also positioning the device as a cheap computer for enterprise customers.
It could be helpful for folks who work in the field, allowing them to essentially carry a computer in their pockets instead of lugging around a laptop. The ability to login to remote machines means they’re not limited to running Android apps on the go, but could also access Windows software back on their work PC or server.