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BARCELONA, Spain--The days of carrying a bulky laptop around with you might be over if Dell has any say in the matter. Project Ophelia is an Android-powered device that plugs into any TV or monitor, giving access to local files, desktop remote access and any of the apps, movies and TV shows in the Google Play store. Better yet, it's as small as a USB flash drive and will cost less than $100.

The idea is simple: rather than take your laptop everywhere with you, you can simply plug the dongle into the HDMI port of whatever screen you find. You'll be presented with the same Android interface you'll see on tablets. If you've got the right set of tools installed, you can use it exactly as you would use your laptop.
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I don' t really see the point in these devices. At the end of the day, they only seem useful to students and traveling businessmen. But are they really all that useful? If you're a businessman, almost anywhere you do a demonstration or have a meeting is going to have a desktop/ultrabook/tablet around for you to plug in a stock-standard $5 USB stick into to access your files.

As for a student, almost all universities, high schools and elementary schools have desktops/laptops/tablets that students can plug a regular, stock-standard $5 USB into. So why on earth would you spend $100 on a glorified USB stick when a $5 stick has the exact same basic function and purpose.

I don't really see these little micro-PC's being powerful enough yet to have any real practical uses and seeing as they don't support Windows, I can't see the general public really warming to them because for most users, Android is too complicated and unfamiliar. Thats why people choose iPad's over simlarly specced, lower priced Android tablets. Apple products just work, and do the basic things. Whereas Android is a lot more powerful and flexible, but also far too complicated for the average, non-tech savvy person to get their head around properly.

So to end this rant, these are pointless imo
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Depending on the university, many won't allow external storage to be used. Also, with a university computer, you're stuck with whatever they've decided to use as a browser (usually IE, or if you're lucky, Firefox) without any of your own bookmarks or settings. I'd gladly spend $100 or whatever it is to have my own little computer in my pocket with personalised applications, files, etc. I don't own a laptop or tablet (at the moment anyway) so if I didn't want to, or couldn't, buy one, this could be a great solution.
 

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Originally Posted by Serephucus View Post

Depending on the university, many won't allow external storage to be used. Also, with a university computer, you're stuck with whatever they've decided to use as a browser (usually IE, or if you're lucky, Firefox) without any of your own bookmarks or settings. I'd gladly spend $100 or whatever it is to have my own little computer in my pocket with personalised applications, files, etc. I don't own a laptop or tablet (at the moment anyway) so if I didn't want to, or couldn't, buy one, this could be a great solution.
Interesting.

Every uni I've been to in Australia, well actually, any school I have been to, allows external storage devices to be used and certainly at my uni, we have IE, Firefox and Chrome installed so you can use whichever browser you please.

I honestly think the biggest hurdle with these Android devices is the OS itself. Android is just too complex for Mr John Doe who just wants to be able to open a word file or powerpoint document. My girlfriend explained to me why she will never go back to Android after buying an iPhone 4 to replace her droid based HTC the other day. Essentially, the iPhone is just so simple, basic and easy to use. Whereas she found Android, although more powerful and flexible, required too much technological knowledge to do the basic things she wanted to do. However, she did prefer the Android UI but other than that, as far as the actual ease of use, she found the iPhone and iOS to be MUCH easier and simpler.

That's the issue I see here. Almost everyone is familiar with Windows, when you take away that environment and try and get the masses to use a new, totally different platform, they feel totally uncomfortable using the software/hardware because they just aren't familiar with it and most people don't want to spend the time to get to know how to use it properly (ignorant I know, but we are talking about the general public here, not tech-savvy folk like ourselves). I think Google really need to work hard to simplify the basics of Android before it becomes a real player in this kind of market. Especially when people are so used to Windows and OSX, Android is completely foreign and people don't like being taken out of their comfort zone. So Google really need to make some major changes to Android before I can see it being successful for this kind of application.

Don't get me wrong, I love Android as a phone OS. But I had an Android tablet (Moto Xoom) and it just never really clicked for me even though I knew how to use it. I just felt it was a bit clunky and unintuitive. I know the Xoom uses Honeycomb (iirc) and the OS on current tabs has been improved and had a lot of changes, but if its still clunky like Honeycomb....I just can't see it really taking off the way Google want it too.
 

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Originally Posted by Vengeance47 View Post

Interesting.

Every uni I've been to in Australia, well actually, any school I have been to, allows external storage devices to be used and certainly at my uni, we have IE, Firefox and Chrome installed so you can use whichever browser you please.
Well, my university (in Ireland) doesn't allow external storage, unless you have a Computer Science login (hurray) and is quite locked-down otherwise.
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Originally Posted by Vengeance47 View Post

I honestly think the biggest hurdle with these Android devices is the OS itself. Android is just too complex for Mr John Doe who just wants to be able to open a word file or powerpoint document. My girlfriend explained to me why she will never go back to Android after buying an iPhone 4 to replace her droid based HTC the other day. Essentially, the iPhone is just so simple, basic and easy to use. Whereas she found Android, although more powerful and flexible, required too much technological knowledge to do the basic things she wanted to do. However, she did prefer the Android UI but other than that, as far as the actual ease of use, she found the iPhone and iOS to be MUCH easier and simpler.

That's the issue I see here. Almost everyone is familiar with Windows, when you take away that environment and try and get the masses to use a new, totally different platform, they feel totally uncomfortable using the software/hardware because they just aren't familiar with it and most people don't want to spend the time to get to know how to use it properly (ignorant I know, but we are talking about the general public here, not tech-savvy folk like ourselves). I think Google really need to work hard to simplify the basics of Android before it becomes a real player in this kind of market. Especially when people are so used to Windows and OSX, Android is completely foreign and people don't like being taken out of their comfort zone. So Google really need to make some major changes to Android before I can see it being successful for this kind of application.
You do make a valid point: iOS is far more simplistic than Android, and is generally more intuitive (don't get me started on Windows Phone), but that's when we're talking about the Luddite community. That's also the reason why I'm not in any great hurry to pick up another iOS device; there's just not enough customisability for me to ever use one. Having said that, I don't think Android is unwieldy. Sure, it's more complex than iOS, but everything is laid out pretty well, and while the average Joe might not figure out something like widgets on a first use, I think he would be able to open a Word document without too much trouble.
 

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Wouldn't you have to carry around your own keyboard/mouse to be able to control it? If it's that small i'm guessing it'll have one usb port (or none), meaning you'll need a bluetooth keyboard/mouse because most peripherals you'll find in universities and stuff would probably be PS/2 never mind USB.

I don't really see how this can be useful. A good enough 7" android tablet can be had for under €100 and would be able to do the same thing, while still being able to fit into you're average jacket pocket.
 

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Yes, but you can get very small keyboards. I'd also rather have a dedicated keyboard and a bigger monitor. Obviously there are pros and cons to both, I was mostly just making the point that it wasn't a useless piece of hardware, and did in fact have viable usage scenarios.
 

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Originally Posted by Serephucus View Post

Yes, but you can get very small keyboards. I'd also rather have a dedicated keyboard and a bigger monitor. Obviously there are pros and cons to both, I was mostly just making the point that it wasn't a useless piece of hardware, and did in fact have viable usage scenarios.
That dedicated keyboard would have to be bigger than a 7" tablet for it to be productive in any way, which ruins the portability. Any smaller and it would be no different to typing on a blackberry or something.

It makes more sense to me to get a 7" tablet with one of those keyboard flip cases and a HDMI cable to plug it into displays. This setup would do everything that device could do and more.

The only real use i see for this would be plugging it into a TV at home to use it as some sort of makeshift smart TV or media centre
 
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