With all the news about new tablets constantly bombarding us, it's no surprise that Cisco's own tablet, the Cius, would get lost in the clutter of white noise and dessert treats that are iOS and Android devices. The Cius is also running with Android but Cisco's unique experience is largely ingrained on a deeper level that breeds some interesting and exciting usability in what I would designate a hardcore enterprise tablet. RIM and HP should take note.
Cisco's goal with the Cius is to "Redefine the way you work," by allowing employees to stay connected, reduce costs and increase productivity. Staying connected involves ubiquitous connectivity over Ethernet (With Cius docking station), 802.11 WiFi, 3G/4G and Bluetooth. Increasing productivity, refers to their AppHQ store which is a Cisco suite of apps that are tested to be sound and are secured from end to end. Cisco collaborative applications like Quad, Jabber and WebEx Meeting Center offer one touch functionality because they are not bolt-ons to the Android system, they are ingrained much more deeply. Something else worth nothing about AppHQ is that businesses can develop their own apps and create their own app suites within AppHQ, essentially allowing them to have a personal sub-app store within AppHQ. These applications are also subject to scrutiny by Cicso to ensure integrity and security, so they seem to be taking the whole security thing seriously. Another highlight of their product, that goes in-line with productivity and connectivity, is their Virtual Experience Infrastructure. To find out what VEI means for you and what Cisco has in store for the Cius, read on after the break.
This is a pretty big deal and, as far as I know, Cisco is the only company that currently offers virtualization of thin clients on their devices besides HP's Slate 2. This means that with Cius and VEI you can run a Windows virtual desktop on your Android tablet... and that is pretty damn useful even if using anything else besides Windows 8 and webOS on a tablet is painful. Currently the Cius has been available at the Playbook size but, unlike RIM, they don't intend to leave you hanging at a mere 7 inches.
There has been a lot of research done into various sizes but they seem to be leaning toward 10-11 inches for the next version. A form-factor hasn't been decided yet but they are making the leap from Android 2.2 to 4.0 which is a more tablet appropriate version of Android. Besides an expressed need for a larger screen by their customers, Chuck Fontana, director of Cius product management at Cisco says that larger screens fall in-line with the Cius's purpose of being and "endpoint device."
Some people don't want a device that's more mobile, they want something that's an endpoint that's both a videophone and a virtual desktop.
The current Cius is only about 6 months old and is priced at $725. There is no information about price points for the larger devices as of yet but if Cisco can stay in that range they should be able to destroy HP's Slate 2 tablet and steal away what little business BlackBerry has left.