Cisco Demos Cius Tablet, Unveils App Store

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Today Cisco unveiled App HQ, the first app store built specifically for the upcoming Cisco Cius, the latest Android tablet to target enterprise and business class users.  Due at the end of July, the $750 Cius is a 7-inch tablet that has a deep focus on interoperability sporting the ability to seamlessly connect Cisco Compatible Extensions with a Cisco Wireless LAN, and  includes the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client for secure VPN connections.

App HQ gives companies unprecedented control of the apps of their employees, allowing IT managers to restrict which apps employees can download. At the loosest security setting employees would have open access to Android Market. A moderate setup would whittle the apps selection down to apps tested and declared malware-free by Cisco. In the strongest setup, the IT department can create a private app store within a store using the AppHQ Manager and cherrypick which apps employees can use.

In today's demo we saw WebEx integration in just about every aspect of the Cius including the calendar and instant messaging. The Intel Atom-powered tablet was able to juggle video conferencing while running email and a virtual desktop in the background.

Further stressing its interoperability, the Cius was set on a waiting dock complete with land line phone, instantly transforming it into a video phone. The docking station has three USB ports, Ethernet, and a micro-HDMI port allowing the device to connect to a projector.

The 8.85 x 5.5 x 0.59-inch, 1.15 pound Cius has a 7-inch LCD backlit capacitive display with 1024 x 600 resolution.  Going off the beaten path, Cisco chose Intel over ARM powering the Cius with a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1 GB RAM with 32 GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, micro USB, HDMI, a headphone jack, and rear and front-facing cameras. Unfortunately, the out-of-the box tablet will be running Android 2.2 (Froyo) so hopefully Cisco will push a Honeycomb update right after launch. Another choice feature was the removable battery that can easily be swapped out for a spare. The Cius will also sport Wi-Fi, 3G/4G connectivity, and Bluetooth 3.0.

In today's demo we saw WebEx integration in just about every aspect of the Cius including the calendar and instant messaging. In addition to WebEx, Cius will also come packaged with Cisco Quad social software, Cisco Jabber messaging, and Cisco TelePresence. We got a sample of the tablet's potential performance during the demo when the Intel Atom-powered tablet ran video conferencing while running email and a virtual desktop in the background.

When BlackBerry unveiled the Playbook, it declared that "amateur hour was over." Perhaps we should have saved that statement for the Cisco Cius.

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