Cisco creates mobile tablet for business

LAS VEGAS – In an unexpected announcement, Cisco Systems Inc. CEO John Chambers has unveiled the Cius, a business-oriented mobile tablet device running the Android operating system capable of HD-quality video.

The device, announced at the Cisco Live conference here Tuesday, is slightly smaller than Apple’s iPad. However, buyers will have to wait until the first quarter of next year to get their hands on one. Pricing wasn’t announced.

Cisco says the Cius will be a collaboration device for business users interested wireless virtual desktop integration.

The ultra-portable device has a 7-inch screen (compared to the iPad’s 9.7-in.), weighs just 1.15lbs, has front and back mounted cameras and is interoperable with Cisco’s Telepresence system. It also features live streaming, real time video, multi party conferencing, email, messaging, browsing, and cloud services.

The unit can also be plugged into an optional docking station equipped with a telephone handset speakerphone, HD DisplayPort and USB ports.

Chambers said that bringing telepresence to every device in the world is a goal of his. “They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so if that’s right then multimedia is worth a million words and you can’t do that with video as an afterthought if you want to bring collaboration to life.”

He added that in the future all phones will be video-enabled and that’s the main reason for Cius.

Cius will also be a device that brings many technological pieces and social networking together with video, security, wireless, WebEx, the Quad social media initiative from Cisco all designed to work together in Cius.

As an example, Chambers demonstrated a live meeting between a teacher and the parents of a student on Cius. The teacher was able to develop a lesson plan on the Cius and transfer assignments to students along with results back to parents. Another example, of Cius’ collaboration capabilities is a live collaboration between the teacher, a student and the staff of a submarine, the HMS Triumph, submerged in the Aegean sea just off the coast of Turkey.

Chambers said that Cisco has informed many third party ISVs about the Cius so that they can create applications for the device which can also be an e-book reader and digital camera.

Cius includes 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi for inside use and 3G cellular services when off-campus. 4G services will be available later. The device also includes Bluetooth and Micro-USB connectivity for untethered use as well as sharing data with a PC. A detachable battery is said to have eight hours life under normal usage.

It works with Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager and therefore supports a raft of the company’s collaboration applications including Cisco Quad, Cisco Show and Share, WebEx Connect, WebEx Meeting Center and Cisco Presence.

Cisco said it will help expand Android developed applications for business by offering appplication protocol interfaces (API’s) for is software to developers through a Software Developer’s Kit (SDK).

(Paolo Del Nibletto is editor of Computer Dealer News)

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