The tiny PC powered by Android is no longer dependent on Bluetooth accessories
Dell has made a large number of improvements to its Wyse Cloud Connect platform, expanding the capabilities of the tiny enterprise-ready Android PC.
The company has solved compatibility issues that plagued the launch in January, and added thousands of new apps. It has also created an application that enables the use of another Android device as a substitute for keyboard and mouse, whereas before, users were required to buy expensive Bluetooth-enabled accessories in order to set up and use Cloud Connect.
Jeff McNaught, CSO for Cloud Client computing at Dell, told TechWeek that the unusual computer was enjoying success – in the first quarter of the year, the company shipped more thin clients than ever before in its history.
Better, faster, stronger
Wyse Cloud Connect, previously known as Project Ophelia, transforms any HDMI-compatible display into a cloud-enabled PC ready for work. It’s not much bigger than a USB memory stick, runs Android 4.0 and features Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, along with a Micro SD card slot.
In most cases, the device doesn’t need batteries, since the energy-efficient design draws power directly from the display.
When Cloud Connect was launched in January, it was compatible with just a few dozen apps. Representatives of the company told us at the time that the Google Play Store and Android app developers would frequently ignore devices without a touchscreen. It seems that these compatibility issues have now been resolved, and Cloud Connect can now install thousands of applications.
In the absence of its own touchscreen, the device previously required either a touch-compatible display or a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard and mouse in order to work. Cloud Connect is being positioned as a budget-friendly solution, so the necessity to shell out around £30 on accessories, in addition to £89 for the device itself, was a real turn-off.
Now, a new app from Dell can transform any touchscreen-enabled Android device into a touchpad/keyboard combo (see the screenshot) which is compatible with gestures such as swiping, making Cloud Connect much easier to deploy. It can also be paired with a Bluetooth headset for voice communication.
Dell has also enabled the management of Cloud Connect through popular tools from Citrix and VMware, and added support for 3G and 4G Internet dongles plugged in via USB.
Finally, complete configurations for the device can now be pre-loaded onto an SD card, making the job of rolling out hundreds of Cloud Connect units at once a lot easier.
McNaught told us that one of the remaining drawbacks of Cloud Connect was its reliance on Android 4.2, otherwise known as ‘Jelly Bean’. He said Dell plans to move it onto Android 4.4 ‘KitKat’ in the nearest future.
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