Has anyone else besides me wondered what ever happened to the Wyse brand that Dell snatched up in 2012? For me, Wyse always represented dumb terminals. As a traveling computer technician in the early days, I regularly found the Wyse terminals in manufacturing organizations, all of them connecting to a mainframe somewhere in the company. The terminals were practically throw-aways. There were bits and pieces of the units that could be repaired, but the best practice was to just keep extras on-hand and swap out the failing units and toss them in a RUMPKE bin near the loading dock.

Despite having processing power 100 times more than what the old Wyse terminals possessed, smartphones and tablets really are nothing more than dumb terminals for the Cloud. In almost every way we are still connecting to mainframes, it's just that those mainframes are now hosted on the Internet served by VMs. So, in truth, Wyse's early innovations have really never left us. We've not progressed much farther and what Wyse invented is still valuable today.

However, some things have changed. The size requirements for what Wyse originally produced have diminished dramatically. Based on the acquired Wyse technology, Dell has recently released their Wyse Cloud Connect ultra-compact cloud access device. Just slightly larger than a USB memory stick, the device can be inserted into almost any HDMI port to offer remote access to virtual desktops, apps, and content. The Cloud Connect is pre-loaded with the Android OS allowing the Google experience for web browsing, social network, media playback, and access to apps from the Google Play store. In addition, the device works with Citrix, Microsoft, and VMware environments. Offered in 8GB to 72GB versions, the device can also be utilized as a data storage and backup mechanism.

The device will work with any Windows and Mac computer, but Dell also offers HDMI capable monitors that will also work. Based on that, you could buy a monitor, a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and have a full-fledged Android computer. But, the beauty of a device like this is the ability to have a mobile computing environment, using any available HDMI slot, anywhere.

The Dell Wyse Connect is $129 from the Dell store: Dell Wyse CS1A13 Cloud Connect

Obviously, this is a very similar design to what is offered in Google's Chromecast device, but it does a lot more than just stream audio and video.

What's your take? Is this a valuable addition to your IT Pro toolbox?