Dell Wyse Cloud Connect -- another take on BYOD

Dell Wyse Cloud Connect -- another take on BYOD

Summary: Dell Wyse Cloud Connect is a cloud-access device on a USB stick. Road warriors need only use one of these devices combined with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to access cloud-based applications. Dell claims this is a first but not really.

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TOPICS: Cloud
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Dell recently announced it is building a new class of cloud-access device. The post, Dell cooks up an Android PC on an HDMI stick by my colleague Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, reviews Dell's announcement. I'd like to explore the topic of an Android-based device in a USB-stick form factor a bit more.

What Dell Announced

Here's Dell's quick description of the device itself:

Cloud Connect represents a new end-user device category that bridges thin clients and mobile devices as part of Dell Cloud Client-Computing’s end-to-end desktop virtualization solutions portfolio. The extremely compact, secure, cloud-managed device with a low total cost of ownership (TCO) supports multiple use cases including mobile workers, students, digital signage, kiosks and other space-constrained environments. Specific customer benefits include:

  • Quick and secure access for mobile and remote workers to virtual desktops and a variety of 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

  • Pocket-size, battery-free alternative in the event of loss, theft, or failure of primary devices

  • Cost-effective virtual desktop for the education market, extending application and data access in classrooms, libraries, labs or at home

  • Digital signage solution with simplified, remote management for airports, retailers, hospitality, or other organizations

  • Personal cloud access to online entertainment, gaming, apps and rich content on large displays

Snapshot analysis

It seems that everyone is looking for a way for mobile staff to access cloud-based applications as well as a company's own in-house applications in a safe and manageable way. In the past, this access was provided by laptop computers or thin-client devices. The industry appears to be transitioning to smartphones and tablets. Dell believes that it would be easier to carry a device that comes in a USB-stick form factor and both a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Is it really easier? Not really.

Where does this device fit?

Is it really easier to carry a monitor, Bluetooth keyboard, Bluetooth mouse and the necessary power cables for the monitor and USB stick computer than carrying a smartphone or tablet. I think not.

While I can see a number of use cases in which the Dell Wyse Cloud Connect would be very useful. These all have one thing in common. The person using the device has actually arrived at a customer site, remote company office or a hotel, that is a place which has a television or computer monitor and a place for that person to sit and work. People actually in transit would be better served by using their smartphone or tablet.

Healthcare, financial services and call centers could certainly use a device like Dell Cloud Connect but, it would be just as easy to use a thin client device from someone such as HP or Wyse. The only major difference is that Dell Cloud Connect can run local Android apps.

Is Dell really the first to offer this type of device?

In a word, "no."

Just search the Internet for "Android Stick" or "Stick Computer" and several competitors will appear immediately. All of them appear to offer similar capabilities. The major difference is Dell's management software.

Here are a few of the competitors I've been able to find:

  • FAVI Android SmartStick — available for $49
  • Tianle TL869 Android Streaming Media Stick/Mini PC — available for $49

While Dell Wyse Cloud Connect certainly appears useful for some applications, it isn't a replacement for a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.

Topic: Cloud

About

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. In his spare time, he's also the managing partner of Lux Sonus LLC, an investment firm.

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7 comments
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  • Don't forget Windows To Go

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/enterprise/products-and-technologies/devices/windowstogo.aspx

    It's a bootable Windows 8/8.1 image on a USB stick. Completely enterprise-manageable using all the normal tools plus often some from the stick vendor. It comes from OEMs like Imation (http://www.ironkey.com/en-US/windows-to-go-drives/) who often sell it on hardware-encrypted drives. Extremely secure as a remote access method. If you lose it, nobody who finds it will be able to do much of anything with it, but booted on a computer, especially one with USB 3 port, and it runs full-steam. And even if the host PC is overflowing with malware, it can't affect the Windows To Go user.
    Larry Seltzer
  • Mine does not work

    You cannot set it up because you have to have a Cloud Client Manager to connect to manage it. Unlike other usb sticks, this one requires your company to have this manager to get the machine to work.
    cfrahm2
    • Update

      After repeated attempts to get a copy of the cloud manager from the website leaving multiple messages I finally called Dell. It seems their support people have never heard of the product or the Wyse division. After bouncing around for half an hour being sent to the wrong people 4 times(everyone thought I was having phone problems), I got Wyse support after a 20 minute hold. They got me my free 14 day manager so I could set it up.

      This product is not ready for prime time.

      1st, once you finally get logged on you get a blank screen with a box that says click here to add applications. This takes you to the standard android app section. Then, this was great, it showed a screen with a finger and it tells you to drag the app icon to the desktop. Now, I am running this on a common dell monitor, there is no touch screen!!!. This needs to be corrected.

      Next I notice there are very few apps so I go to the Amazon App store where I have hundreds of apps that I have downloaded for the free app of the day and are available to all my other androids. Well I found only a handful were available to the Dell stick and I downloaded Office Pro. Documents to go, quick office does not work on this. I then went to Google Play and found pretty much the only thing that would download was Vulcano - connect to my home dish software. Opps, no speaker on my monitor. Later on a tv it worked with sound

      Forget about Angry birds, Candy Crush, Flappy birds, or about any other program game or non game. Very few work. Again, I know this is for business. But only Office Pro.

      So I opened my Office Pro and started typing. I then noticed my eyes watering and I realized, with the game search, setup, and now office work that the resolution was poor and my eyes were getting tired. There is no way I could work with this fuzzy screen from 8 hours. My eyes were bad in an hour.

      So the next day I connect it to my 40 inch TV. I happen to have one of those other Android sticks I bought 5 months ago at more than half the price so I started to compare. The other one would take 10 times the applications, but not all (gps dependent had issues). I noticed my old stick had a later version of Android and had much more memory. The speed, which is slower than average, but not too slow was pretty much the same between the two compared to a desktop. Also Internet was very slow for high graphic pages. I noticed that both sticks had equal resolution, but the other stick had a much better interface. Unlike the Dell product it has a power off and when I right click it jumps out of the application. Dell does not do this.

      My first impressions of the management software was generally good, but one needs to keep in mind it is a management tool in the cloud. Feds beware, I don't think it is running on a FedRamp certified cloud. The price for a single license was not bad. It controls other devices and I plan on testing my apple, other androids, and the other stick I got for half the price.

      We are planning on using the Dell stick at a conference as a Kiosk, it will be interesting to see how it does.
      cfrahm2
      • I forgot it has no Dell Service Tag with this product.

        Have fun getting support from Dell without a service tag online. Using the order number option didn't work either.
        cfrahm2
  • thin client

    This android pc on a usb stick is really a thin client concept. It is used to access remote desktop from a server. The Aikotech Thinserver solution we are using is utilizing low cost and simple Windows 7 remote desktop
    ThinkFairer8
  • Short sighted analysis, Mr. Kusnetzky

    You appear to be dismissing the device without pointing out that:

    - it doesn't HAVE to work for every situation - it can find a place without being the one-stop-shop for all uses (note that your argument is the same one used to argue that Windows tablets are the only ones that should exist, because they're the only ones that can "do it all")

    - most of your argument becomes moot if companies see teh financial sense of propagating peripherals only to kiosks/offices - buy bluetooth keyboard/mice and HDMI monitors only, then provision workers with such fobs. Do you really believe that there would be no cost savings for such an approach? This is more savings than thin clients alone, which have certainly found their way into enterprises. And what if you could walk into a Starbucks and know there was a screen+keyboard/mouse station waiting?
    daboochmeister
  • You're an idiot daboochmeister

    "- most of your argument becomes moot if companies see teh financial sense of propagating peripherals only to kiosks/offices - buy bluetooth keyboard/mice and HDMI monitors only, then provision workers with such fobs. Do you really believe that there would be no cost savings for such an approach? This is more savings than thin clients alone, which have certainly found their way into enterprises. And what if you could walk into a Starbucks and know there was a screen+keyboard/mouse station waiting?"

    Are you serious?! You really think Starbucks is really going to have a screen + keyboard waiting for you? Give me a break! If anything I had deep knowledge and had deep doubts about it which is one of the many reasons I quit.
    truther88