Dell Upgrades Its Thin Client Device, Wyse Cloud Connect

Dell on Thursday released its first update to Wyse Cloud Connect, one enabling users to interface the pocket-sized cloud-access device by typing or clicking on their smartphones or tablets.

The mobile interface and other new features represent the first significant upgrades to the portable computer that looks more like a late-model car key since it came to market in January.

Dan O’Farrell, a senior director of product and marketing at Dell, said users love the portability of the thin-client device that plugs into monitors, but sometimes need an easier way to interact with it.

[Related: Review: Dell Wyse Cloud Connect ]

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’The feedback was that, 'It’s great that it fits into my pocket, but I can’t fit a Bluetooth keyboard as well,'’ O’Farrell told CRN.

Problem solved with Cloud Connect Controller. The app, now available for download from the Google Play store, mimics a keyboard and mouse.

"You get a screen where a little mouse appears that you can double-tap and touch-and-drag with your smartphone,’ O'Farrell told CRN.

Cloud Connect fits in your palm. But pop off the cap, plug it into an HDMI or MHL port on a television or monitor, and the device puts a powerful computer at your fingertips that offers dual-band Wi-Fi, and enterprise-class security and control.

Companies can configure Cloud Connect to sequester corporate from personal information, avoiding cross-contamination should the device get lost. If necessary, IT administrators can remotely wipe data from the 8 GB of flash storage on the device (although they can’t get at the 40 GB that can be added through a tiny SD card slot).

Cloud Connect operates in three modes, offering selectable tiers of security.

Open mode comes with no restrictions on use.

Launchpad only grants the user partial access, allowing the company that issues the device to lock down certain applications.

In Kiosk mode, the only item that comes up on boot is the Citrix Receiver app, which enables a Citrix session. O'Farrell calls that ’single-purpose appliance mode,’ usually meant to remotely access one specific application in the cloud.

Restrictions are maintained through Cloud Client Manager, Dell's software for setting and enforcing access policies.

In addition to the mobile keyboards, Dell has upgraded Cloud Connect with other features to make the thin client functional in more environments.

The device now is categorized by Google as a touch device, supporting touch screen apps that can be downloaded from Google Play.

Dell also has made Cloud Connect more consumer-friendly by allowing users to forego the requirement of setting up a subscription to Cloud Client Manager before they can use the device in Open mode. That was an enterprise requirement not right for all users, O’Farrell explained.

Dell also beefed up Cloud Connect’s ability to work as a platform for digital signage. With the latest release, ’It’s right up there in the big leagues in terms of its ability to act as a digital signage endpoint,’ O'Farrell told CRN.