Dell’s Android, iOS notification, screencasting service is locked to 2018 PCs

Dell

Amid all the hardware introduced during the show, Dell launched a new service called Dell Mobile Connect for Android and iOS devices at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The goal is to seamlessly integrate the PC with a wireless device, but the catch — of course — is that the parent PC must be manufactured by Dell. The service is pre-installed on all new Dell PCs (Alienware included) now sold on the mainstream “consumer” market. 

This service requires two components: the Dell/Alienware Mobile Connect Windows 10 app installed on the parent PC, and the Dell/Alienware Mobile Connect app installed on an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet. The connection requires Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct, and once you install the mobile app and pair your phone, the app will generate a special code that must be entered into the Windows 10 app. 

“Your connection is only accessible on the PC when you are present and the communication remains secure through a point-to-point connection, never going through the internet or Wi-Fi routers,” Dell said, pointing out why the service doesn’t rely on your local network. 

To some degree, the service competes with Microsoft’s Cortana initiative for mobile. Like Cortana, you can send and receive text messages from your Dell PC without picking up the phone. Dell Mobile Connect provides other notifications too such as instant messages, and additional alerts coughed up by your device’s mobile apps. Ultimately, you get to decide what Dell Mobile Connect pushes to the PC through the Android/iOS app’s settings. 

But the service is more than just pushing notifications. According to Dell, you can send and receive phone calls while the phone is paired with your Dell PC. Even more, it even provides a mirror function, enabling you to interact with your device’s installed apps right on the PC’s screen via a keyboard and mouse, and/or a touch-capable display. 

According to the company, Dell Mobile Connect will come pre-installed on new XPS, Inspiron, Vostro, and Alienware PCs starting in January. If it’s not already on the device, customers who purchased a Dell PC in January and throughout 2018 can download and install the Windows 10 app from the Windows Store.  

Unfortunately, Dell Mobile Connect is not compatible with any other Dell PC released before January 2018. We reached out to Dell to understand why.

“Even though we are providing it for free, we want to make sure customers are getting a bulletproof, validated product that works great and provides a wonderful experience for our customers,” a representative told Digital Trends. “As this is not regular software that you can simply pre-load but software that works with your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi chipset, the validation effort is huge and we needed to draw the line somewhere to ensure perfect experience.

In other words, given the various Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chipsets used in Dell’s PCs over the years, the company is launching its new service on a clean slate. That’s a shame, too, given Dell released new Alienware products in the back half of 2017. Anyhoo, here are the download links for your 2018 Dell PC: 

Dell Mobile Connect:  Windows 10  Android v5+  iOS 10+ 
Alienware Mobile Connect: 

Windows 10 

Android v5+ 

iOS 10+ 

 Note that the Dell Mobile Connect page clearly states that “there is no guarantee that this app will run on all Android devices.”