Dell coming up with thumb-sized computer

hile device makers are bulking up their smart phones to approach tablet device proportions, Dell Inc. appears to be taking the opposite direction with computers.

Narrowly missing media attention at the recently concluded 2013 Consumer Electronic Show (perhaps because of its size) is Dell’s Project Ophelia, 3.5 inches long by 1.5 inch wide device that looks much like a USB stick but has the power to turn a TV screen or monitor into a computing device.  Dell intends to roll out the Project Ophelia by the middle of 2013 and sell it for less than $100 a pop.

Developed by Dell’s Wyse unit, the Bluetooth-capable and Wi-Fi-enabled device will be powered by an ARM processor. It is designed to be plugged into other devices such as a monitor, touch screen or TV. It has two USB ports for a keyboard and a mouse.

The device will run Android Jelly Bean and have 8GB of memory for applications, video, music and presentations as well as a microSD slot for additional storage.  Dell says it is not going the Google Chromebook route with its device.

Project Ophelia can run applications natively or through the cloud and although it’s not a corporate thin client it could be useful for BYOD workers and managers. The computer could also be used in the education system, where schools can provide students with an Ophelia that they can plug onto a screen in school or at home.

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