Dell Looking To Be More Agile

“Dell is reportedly investigating a move to take the company private in a leveraged buy-out to clear the decks for a radical repositioning of the company. And according to a report from Atlantic Media’s Quartz, that includes relaunching Dell’s desktop and mobile business around a brand-new product: a computing device the size of a thumb-drive that will sell for about $50.
see Is Dell looking to kill PCs with “Project Ophelia”? | Ars Technica.

Like every other OEM, Dell is looking at getting out from under the burden of Wintel. A thin client on a USB-drive that an employee could use at work anywhere or at home makes a lot of sense for many. Being totally independent of M$ and Intel at the same time means huge savings, a competitive advantage for Dell and lower prices for customers. This is the future of small cheap computing.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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9 Responses to Dell Looking To Be More Agile

  1. TheStreet is not a hugely influential site but at least someone is getting it. The OEMs have known the story for a decade and only now are managing to open the door to freedom from M$. To the extent that the ChromeBooks make IT as simple as smart thingies, they are a growth industry. M$ was selling complexity as if it were essential. In the thick snow, no one but M$ knew what was really happening. The more open business comes to FLOSS the faster M$ will fade. I think 2013 will be the year the rate of fading increases dramatically from ~ -1% to -5% or even more. The gravy train is about to end. Expect all kinds of rats to leave the sinking ship. Those who remain will kill to keep their seats. The only question is how long M$ will retain Balmer in some role. Once the bottom line is seriously affected, his tenure becomes shaky.

    It is interesting to see how long it has taken for the “accepted wisdom” of IT to change. Five years ago Gartner and others were saying GNU/Linux is OK but just not ready for prime time. Three years ago the word was that business are looking at GNU/Linux but nothing much was happening. Two years ago the word was that smart thingies were a fad that would never catch on. This year no one believes those things and everyone has reserved a place in the lifeboats. The “old” cost perspective where business assumed PCs cost ~$500 and cost ~$1K per annum to “maintain” are being replaced by the certain knowledge that information is nearly $free and anyone who taxes IT like M$ did is a thief.

  2. Mats Hagglund says:

    Dell should follow Lenova:

    “Why is Lenovo doing this?

    Corporate America, as well as some branches of government, are trying to reduce their costs. IT is a growing part of their budgets, with pressures from the front office to deploy and pay for smartphones and tablets, in addition to PCs.

    At the same time, the complexity of a Windows PC has grown beyond most users’ capabilities to handle it. I’m told that as early as a dozen years ago, Microsoft asked Excel users for feedback on what features to add. Supposedly 95% of the suggested new features for Excel were…already in Excel. A Windows PC is simply too complex for most regular users.

    Once you have used your Windows PC for the first few days, weeks and months, it no longer takes 30 seconds to boot it up, but perhaps one minute, then two minutes, then… My old Windows PC now takes at least five minutes to boot before it approaches usability.

    Then you have the longest list of viruses and spyware. Many users have no idea whether they have them, or how they may get them. It’s an eternal — futile? — cat and mouse game to fight these scourges. ”

  3. d. wrote, “there will always be use cases that require a bigger screen and a keyboard and more CPU power than a tablet can provide.”

    Large screens and keyboards can be hooked to smart thingies already thanks to Linux. If folks need more CPU power they can access it as needed over the network. That’s what networks and servers do. It is silly to buy 1000 expensive/powerful CPUs just to do the work that a few servers can do. One of the highlights of my life was to see whole schools running applications and sessions on servers and everyone felt they were running a powerful PC when the thin client cost ~$100 and the servers cost about what a top of the line PC would cost. It’s a very efficient system.

  4. d. says:

    Debian is probably better for more experienced users, IMHO. For first timers I’d suggest something like Mint or Puppy. That’s the beauty of the linux ecosystem – there’s something for everyone, one distro doesn’t have to fit everyone’s needs.

    As far as thin clients go, I think there’s a market for them – for a certain type of user – but they’re never going to replace desktop computers entirely. The same applies to tablets. The TV didn’t replace radio, so there’s no reason to think desktop computers are going anywhere, even if they become less popular – there will always be use cases that require a bigger screen and a keyboard and more CPU power than a tablet can provide.

    However, I’m looking forward to ARMv8 based desktop computers. With 8 or 16 core 64-bit CPU:s, ARM can become just as powerful as x86-based computers, and then the desktops can be made smaller and less power-consuming. The x86 platform is probably going to die in the next decade, but the desktop computer will survive.

  5. MK wrote, “don’t recommend her Debian, unless you are available for support one way or another.”

    I can put in a cron job to upgrade periodically and replace myself.

  6. MK says:

    Do me a favor, don’t recommend her Debian, unless you are available for support one way or another.

  7. dougman wrote, of clueless comments, “Thin clients will never be popular with consumers, the lag would be horrible trying to connect to your home server over the internet”.

    It doesn’t get much more clueless than that, in view of the widespread use of web applications on the Internet, e.g. mail, social sites, weather, shopping, navigation…

    I just had a phone call from a frustrated user of that other OS. An intruder had just sent spam from her e-mail account to all her professional contacts… She’s looking to go to Apple or GNU/Linux. There’s no wrath greater than that of a professional with a spammed address list. A thin client would at least give her some comfort the compromise was not at her end.

    Also, “This is far too much tech know how for the average person, and far too limited in scope to be meaningful.”

    The beauty of thin clients includes the fact that users need to know less about them… and the limitations in scope are limitations of the mind of the writer. A thin client running an application on a super-computer is limited in what way? The purpose of most applications is to produce a finished product eventually. On the web, the finished product may be anywhere and obtained in milliseconds.

  8. George Hostler says:

    Robert, I found a corollary article at:

    It further explains how it works, “As Mims writes, Dell is working on a projected currently called “Ophelia” that is “a complete, self-contained PC” that also happens to be as big as a USB thumb drive. But the killer feature of Ophelia is that it uses “virtual instances of… operating systems running in the cloud” to give users access to “Windows, Mac OS, Google’s Chrome OS, Dell’s custom cloud solutions, Citrix cloud software, and even Google’s Chrome OS.” Let’s take a step back and think about what this really means. If you plug Ophelia into a flat-panel television, it will connect to the nearest Wi-Fi network and give you access to any type of operating system or app that is running virtually somewhere in the cloud.”

    I can see where this real will take off for the home user. Breaks out a blue tooth keyboard and mouse, connects to cloud services, which then makes it unnecessary to have a fat client home PC. More people are already involved with cloud services such as Netflix and Google TV, getting music files from the various Internet store services, and etc.

    Games, the strength of Windows for a long time are no longer as popular, market having shifted to dedicated gaming machines and cloud services. I can see really where this type device will make it unnecessary to have a dedicated OS at home and the fat client PC required to operate it.

  9. dougman says:

    I just love the clueless comments:

    This is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

    Thin clients will never be popular with consumers, the lag would be horrible trying to connect to your home server over the internet, or if you find or bring your hardware with your thin client then whats the point?

    Also what business is going to want this? If they are somewhere where they have a usb on with access to the network then they probably already have a thin client or workstation in that location, again whats the point?

    This is far too much tech know how for the average person, and far too limited in scope to be meaningful.

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