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$99 HDMI stick turns displays into virtual desktops

May 21, 2013  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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Devon IT unveiled an HDMI stick that can turn any HDMI-compatible monitor or display into an interactive virtual desktop. “Ceptor” is somewhat larger than a typical USB memory stick, runs Devon IT’s Linux-based ZeTOS “zero client” operating system on a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 SOC (system-on-chip), and sells for $99.

“Unlike PC Sticks, Ceptor is a full-featured enterprise client desktop access point that is configurable, persistent, and fully manageable, making it an ideal virtual desktop solution for a wide variety of uses,” says the company.



Ceptor gallery: alone, plugged into a monitor, hanging with a Coke
(click images to enlarge)

 

Ceptor’s embedded computer is based on a dual-core i.MX6 ARM Cortex-A9 SOC, clocked at 1GHz and backed with up to 1GB RAM and up to 32GB internal flash (depending on its shipped configuration). The device plugs directly into a display’s HDMI input port and accesses its enabling cloud service via built-in 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi. User input is accomplished with Bluetooth or USB keyboards and pointing devices (not included with the Ceptor).

Although touted as being “slightly larger” than a normal USB stick, the 4.4 x 1.5 x .6-inch Ceptor device is actually quite a bit larger than any normal USB stick. However, at less than half the size of a typical cellphone, it’s certainly small enough to stow comfortably in a pocket.

Key features of the device, as listed on its data sheet, include:

  • Processor — Freescale dual-core i.MX6-series SOC; based on Cortex-A9 cores, clocked at 1GHz
  • RAM — 512MB or 1GB DDR3 (depending on shipped configuration)
  • Internal storage — up to 32GB eMMC flash (depending on shipped configuration)
  • Video out — HD 1080P (standard HDMI plug)
  • Connectivity:
    • Wifi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
    • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR (keyboard/mouse)
    • USB — 1x OTG port
  • Other — reset button; power/WiFi status LED; 5V DC input jack
  • Dimensions — 4.37 x 1.54 x 0.6 inches (111 x 39 x 16 mm)

 

Software environment

Ceptor runs Devon IT’s Linux-based ZeTOS zero client operating system (formerly called “Devon Zero“). The term “zero client” refers to the fact that the device’s internal flash storage contains a small-footprint OS that bootstraps the client and then proceeds to download Devon’s complete Linux-based DeTOS OS from the Cloud.

“Ceptor runs in a stateless condition,” explains Devon IT president Joe Makoid. “Users are unable to execute software or initiate remote sessions that the administrators have not authorized. A user enters their username and password and is immediately up and running in their remote session. Ceptor devices do not broadcast or auto-discover network protocols, eliminating the need for special firewall or routing rules. Since the terminals have no local persistent memory, there are no threats from viruses or malicious software.”

“Ceptor is an enterprise class device that is fully configurable and manageable, making it an ideal solution for companies and organizations worldwide with increasingly mobile and remote work forces,” Makoid adds. The devices are administered via Devon IT’s Echo thin client management platform.
 

Further information

Ceptor is expected to ship in July, priced at $99. Its price includes a year of software support and maintenance; thereafter it still functions and Echo still works, but there is charge for upgrades and phone support, says the company.

According to Devon IT, future versions of Ceptor will feature lower-cost processors and will have the ability to run Android.

Ceptor is being demonstrated in booth 304 at Citrix Synergy 2013 in Anaheim. Additional details may be found at Devon IT’s website.
 

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