The much-anticipated Cisco Cius portable business computing tablet based on the Android (News - Alert) operating system became globally available on July 31, 2011. The 7-inch tablet enables mobile collaboration via several modes of connectivity to meet varying business user needs: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi (News - Alert) connectivity or 3G cellular services (4G planned) or wired Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.
Cius tablet users can view documents (create documents in the future), browse Web pages and participate in video conferencing via the backlit, touchscreen LCD (1024x600-pixel resolution) and a forward-facing camera (720p 30-fps HD video encoding/decoding). Users can also capture still pictures (5-megapixel) or VGA-quality video using the tablet’s rear-facing camera. Expansion options include Bluetooth headset and keyboard connections, a 3.5mm headset jack, an additional speaker for hands-free communication, a DisplayPort to connect a larger display, standard or slimline handset options and a charging dock.
One aspect of the Cisco (News - Alert) Cius that may resonate with business owners for security reasons is Cius AppHQ, a Cisco-hosted enterprise application storefront that houses Cisco-selected and validated consumer and business applications. For many IT/telecom managers, security is a main concern and allowing employees to utilize their own mobile device at work is risky.
AppHQ is designed to provide a secure, trusted area for end users and IT managers to procure applications relative to their particular business environment, whether these are Cisco applications or applications from third party Android developers or applications developed by users within the organization. Businesses can customize their own storefront with logos and color schemes and can choose to make only selected applications available for certain departments within their organization. IT managers can still download from some 200,000 applications located in the Android Marketplace if desired.
Many of the UC vendors are introducing compatibility with the leading smartphones and tablets rather than developing their own, proprietary devices, and this concept of “bring your own device” will likely be the general trend over using proprietary devices like Cisco Cius. However, for business organizations that have strict enterprise policies on security and that need control over access to mobile applications, Cisco’s proprietary tablet with validated applications may be a good option.
Cisco Cius is globally available as of July 31, 2011 with an estimated street price is $750 USD (AppHQ is included). Cisco’s Triple V (Voice, Video and Virtualization) promotion could further reduce the price below $700 USD.
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Sandra M. Gustavsen, business VoIP analyst, contributes her Business VoIP column to TMCnet. To read more of Sandra's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell