It’s been a busy few days for tiny revolutions. First came the Google Chromecast, which plugs directly into any HDTV and allows you to stream video or music from your Android device (phone, tablet or browser). The entire hardware package is the size of a USB thumb drive. The cost: $35. It’s already sold out. At that price, it doesn’t matter if it’s less than perfect. If it delivers only part of its promise it will dramatically change how we combine our devices.
And then there is Project Ophelia, Dell’s thumb-sized PC, which “can turn any screen or display with an HDMI port into a PC, gaming machine, or streaming media player. The thumb PC runs on the Android OS and once it is plugged into an HDMI port, users can run applications, play games, watch streaming movies or access files stored in the cloud.” Price: $100.
Suddenly the entire hardware paradigm of the desktop PC seems transformed. I know that a tablet is not a PC. If you are a content producer, rather than just a consumer, you still need the resources of a dedicated computer. But the way those resources are packaged look to be about to undergo radical change.
Update 29 November 2013: I bought the ChromeCast device recently. It was idiot-level easy to set up and works flawlessly. The content is still limited but YouTube videos look great on the bigger screen.