“Ophelia,” a USB-sized self-contained computer, can provide access to virtually every major operating system there is – from the Mac OS, to Windows, to Google’s Chrome OS, to cloud-based solutions from Citrix and Dell – all via the cloud.
Dell may have found a way to reinvent itself: The Round Rock, Texas, company is considering going private after 24 years on the Nasdaq, but even if a deal isn’t struck, there’s one particular project in development that may completely change the Dell’s outlook and make it a true contender in this post-PC era.
I know what you’re thinking. “Dell? Making a Post-PC contender? But Dell makes PCs. Why would Dell kill off its own business?” One word: Reinvention.
Dell might just enjoy another renaissance if it follows through on its project codenamed “Ophelia,” a USB-sized self-contained computer, which can provide access to virtually every major operating system there is – from the Mac OS, to Windows, to Google’s Chrome OS, to cloud-based solutions from Citrix and Dell – all via the cloud.
Ophelia works exactly like a USB port: Just plug it into any flat panel monitor or TV, and boom, you have a computer. Ophelia automatically connects to the Internet via Wi-Fi, and can connect to keyboards and other peripherals via Bluetooth.
According to Quartz, Ophelia is powered by Google’s Android operating system to handle local tasks like decoding and encoding audio and video, but the computer itself is relatively power-friendly. The Ophelia reportedly draws 2.1 watts of power; comparatively, the average smartphone microprocessor draws a little over 1 watt, while the average PC can consume more than 20 times as much electricity.
Ophelia is so electricity-savvy because most of its tasks are offloaded to servers in the cloud; and even though the device resembles nothing like a computer, it essentially provides the exact same experience – as long as you can connect to the Internet.
Why Ophelia Is A Game Changer
Like Apple’s iDevices like iPhone and iPad, Dell’s Ophelia is a computer – a PC – and yet, it’s everything it’s not.
PCs are cumbersome, heavy, and slow. Ophelia provides a computer experience as typical and fast as any other computer – again, everything depends on the Internet connection – but at a fraction of the weight. PCs can’t fit in your pocket; Ophelia can. Heck, you could probably stick anywhere between two to five of those computers into a normal pants pocket.
Ophelia is a game changer for consumers, but it could be an even bigger boon for Dell.
Dell, which has always been dogged over the past decade after struggling sales and subsequently angry investors, might get a breath of fresh air from Ophelia, which is a truly unique device for the company.
Dell has lost a lot of money by outsourcing its manufacturing, which is why it makes perfect sense to sell an entirely cloud-based solution like Ophelia. Furthermore, most of Dell’s cloud-based customers consist of federal and local governments: Ophelia makes sense for them because it’s cheap, powerful, portable, and flexible.
With the ability to access nearly every major operating system and at a fraction of the cost and weight, Dell customers can feel satisfied with a reliable solution that’s also slick and convenient.
Better yet, Dell is also embracing this opportunity to sell Ophelia at an extremely decent price point, hoping to appeal to individual as well as corporate customers.
“We want to start the product at $50,” said Tarkan Maner, Dell’s VP of cloud operations, in an interview with Quartz. “And I’m still making 50% gross margin!”
Dell is thinking forward for a change, and it’s understanding what Google does so well: Sell cloud-based products and services to remove most of the manufacturing costs, and make even more money by selling subscriptions for storage, security, or other services. For most consumers, which are getting more and more mobile each day, solutions like these are convenient, and that’s exactly what Ophelia is.
Dell Moves Forward
Dell may or may not go private after more than a decade on the stock market, but whatever the company wants to do, Ophelia will certainly provide some useful leverage.
Ophelia, which was borne from the acquisition of cloud solutions company Wyse Technology last April, only puts more value into Dell, which has already spent billions of dollars to acquire these companies and build out these solutions. Furthermore, Wyse made incredible revenue even before its acquisition by Dell: By 2011, Wyse brought in about $400 million in revenue, with $250 million of that money produced in the final quarter of that year. Dell’s VP Maner believes Wyse would be a billion-dollar revenue company if it were still independent.
The growth of Dell’s cloud-based services, which may soon eclipse the company’s failing PC sales, might be the turning point in the decision to take Dell private.
Dell’s $50 billion business may have been hemmoraging recently, but a buyout wouldn’t necessarily mean Dell would have to strip itself completely. Unlike IBM, Dell doesn’t need to sell off its PC business; it only needs to shed the parts that aren’t “complete systems,” saving the data centers and individual workstations. Furthermore, Dell’s business, unlike its sales, are likely to remain pretty consistent, as government and enterprise IT systems aren’t the biggest fans of change.
But it all depends on Ophelia. If Dell can truly make a name for itself with cloud-based computing, the company can refocus itself on more specific services and pivot towards fewer clients. If Dell wanted to sell itself at that point, it could; a private Dell would only mean more profit for anyone.
Dell wants to reinvent itself in the post-PC world? Ophelia is the key.
This article is copyrighted by International Business Times, the business news leader