Dell this week released a new dongle device that puts a corporate PC in the palm of your hand: the $129 Dell Wyse Cloud Connect.
This device is interesting for a couple of reasons.
- It offers a clue to the enterprise "post-PC" world.
- It runs on Android.
The dongle plugs into any monitor or TV with an HDMI or MHL port and turns that into a PC running your corporate apps. There is a caveat, however: To gain access to your corporate network, your IT department would have to buy this device and other IT equipment, configure it and control it. The whole setup is known in the enterprise world as "desktop virtualization."
Desktop virtualization isn't new, but Dell and other enterprise tech companies (Citrix, VMware) think it's going to be an increasingly popular way that enterprises let employees access corporate software on their personal PCs, smartphones and tablets. It's a trend known as "bring your own device" (BYOD).
A consumer could also buy the dongle and use it to access his own home PC or Mac, or files stored on Dell's cloud service, using a Dell app called PocketCloud. PocketCloud comes preloaded.
The tech industry talks a lot about the "post-PC" world, and that usually means that people are now using tablets and smartphones for a lot of tasks that they once used PCs to do, like email, games, shopping, and search.
This is clearly Dell's way of experimenting with new forms of delivering the PC experience.
Equally interesting, however, is that the dongle delivers an Android PC. It doesn't use Windows, even though it could have. Microsoft makes a version of Windows called Windows embedded, that's designed to run things other than traditional PCs.
UPDATE: Plus, it competes with a feature in Windows 8 called Windows to Go, where IT professionals can allow employees to put their Windows software on a USB stick.
However, it doesn't get enterprises off the hook for paying for Windows. They will still need to license Windows from Microsoft.
Even so, add this to the growing list of Android PC alternatives from Microsoft's biggest PC competitors. Earlier this month, HP introduced a $400 Android PC that it's aiming at enterprises, too.
Plus, Lenovo also introduced an Android PC for consumers at CES, built for playing games.
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