By Charles King, Pund-IT, Inc. January 29, 2014
Dell announced the availability of Dell Wyse Cloud Connect, an ultra-compact and highly mobile cloud-access device that delivers desktop virtualization and personal cloud services to any HDMI- or MHL-enabled display, delivering a full-HD experience with enterprise-level security, manageability and reliability. Organizations can use Cloud Connect to deliver streaming cloud services and IT solutions in a cost-effective, mobile offering for work, home and on the go.
According to Dell, Cloud Connect offers a low total cost of ownership (TCO) and supports multiple use cases and offers specific benefits, including:
- Pocket-size, battery-free alternative in the event of loss, theft, or failure of primary devices
- Quick and secure access for mobile and remote workers to virtual desktops and cloud assets including content, applications, virtual desktops and IT support
- Easy remote connections to personal computers running Microsoft Windows OS or Apple Mac OS to access data, content or applications
- Plug-and-play interactive presentations run in full-HD directly from the cloud or device, on any compatible display
Dell believes Cloud Connect represents a new category of smart connected solutions and is the only device of its kind that is seamlessly integrated into a secure, controlled, end-to-end desktop virtualization portfolio that includes:
- Software for mobile device and application management and control with Dell Wyse Cloud Client Manager
- Flexible desktop virtualization solutions from Dell partners Citrix, Microsoft and VMware
- Personal cloud access to files and apps through Dell Wyse PocketCloud
- Global customer support expertise through Dell ProSupport for Cloud
Dell Wyse Cloud Connect is available immediately for $129 per unit. Dell accessories, including MHL-capable displays and Bluetooth keyboards and mice are also available.
Dell’s Wyse Cloud Connect combines unique thin client functionality with rich features/user experience.
Wallis Simpson’s memorable tagline, “You can never be too rich or too thin,” is seldom, if ever, applied to thin or zero client computing. That’s partly due to the nature of the technology, which tends to be designed to primarily address the requirements of organizations rather than the desires of individuals. That contradicts the increasingly customer-centric stance of IT vendors and users’ preference for highly personalized, customizable devices
But that doesn’t mean that valuable and effective compromises aren’t available. In fact, we would argue that the new Dell Wyse Cloud Connect is a solution that combines the common technical and business benefits of thin clients with uncommonly rich features, including notable portability and personalization.
For those unfamiliar with Dell’s new solution, Cloud Connect arose from the company’s Project Ophelia, an initiative launched in January 2013 with the goal of developing a highly portable, customizable solution that could be effectively used across a range of traditional thin/zero client scenarios and also support a host of other use cases.
The concept and form factor Dell pursued hasn’t changed much since then. Cloud Connect is the size and shape of a slightly beefy thumb drive, making it easy to carry in a coat or pants pocket. The HDMI/MHL connector allows the device to be plugged into any compatible monitor, including high res 1080p HD displays, and Cloud Connect can work via Bluetooth with complementary wireless keyboard and mouse solutions.
With 1GB of memory and 8GB of Flash storage onboard (expandable to 40GB via a 32GB micro SD card), Cloud Connect basically transforms a host display into an All-In-One PC. Since the device is Android-based, it supports Google’s Chrome browser, apps from its Play Store, various cloud-based services and online entertainment and gaming.
Of greatest interest to enterprises and learning institutions, Cloud Connect is fully compatible with VMware, Citrix and Microsoft remote/thin client and virtual desktop solutions, as well as Dell Wyse Cloud Client Manager and Dell Wyse PocketCloud. Those solutions allow Cloud Connect to be seamlessly integrated with existing thin client and virtual desktop infrastructures, and to easily access files and applications on PCs and laptops.
Finally, since Cloud Connect supports both PC functionality and remote management, it can also be applied in a variety of standalone commercial and industrial use cases, including powering digital signage, and to support retail, hospitality, airport, library and other applications.
Some will emphasize the obvious association between Cloud Connect and Dell’s 2012 acquisition of Wyse, one of the leading vendors of thin and zero client solutions. While we would not dispute that, it touches just one narrow aspect of what is a far broader and deeper effort; rather than being restricted by conventional market and product development wisdom, Dell instead used Project Ophelia to reimagine how thin client and associated technologies might function if they were freed from traditional constraints and use cases.
The result is a highly portable solution that can support a remarkable range of functionalities in that most unremarkable of devices—a desktop monitor or display. In essence, Dell Wyse Cloud Connect has made the experience and performance of desktop computing small enough to be put into a pocket. That should allow Dell’s new solution to provide substantially deeper value and richer user satisfaction than competitors who are unwilling or unable to look beyond the shallow limits of thin clients.
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