Cisco announced today the Cius, an Android-based seven-inch tablet computer aimed at the enterprise. The device will feature both front and rear-facing cameras, Cisco TelePresence-compatible video conferencing and access to applications such as Cisco Quad, WebEx and AnyConnect Security VPN Client, as well as access to the Android app store. The launch further diversifies Cisco's offerings.
The device will weigh 1.15 pounds and feature Wi-Fi, 3G/4G data, Bluetooth, and HD audio and video. In addition to its phone-like docking station, the Cius will support Bluetooth keyboards and mice. Cisco says the tablet will be available for customer trials Q3 2010, followed by general availability Q1 2011.
Cisco has been diversifying its product line beyond networking equipment in recent years, and this tablet complements the company's cloud computing, collaboration and conferencing initiatives. Cisco has been selling VoIP and video-conferencing hardware for some years now, and entered the consumer video market with its Flip Video acquisition last year, but this is the first time the company has offered its own computing device.
Cisco also announced a partnership today with MobileAccess to provide in-building cellular coverage over an organization's existing network infrastructure, a sensible additional service for enabling mobile video conferencing.
Enterprises are very interested in the iPad, and Cisco is already offering WebEx for the iPad. Although Cisco is new to the space, it has a trusted name and brings a different, video-focused spin to tablet computing that could help break tablets into the mainstream.
By using Android, Cisco is able to tap an existing developer base and take advantage of Android's slowly evolving enterprise features. Cisco's support for Android could also help the adoption rate of the OS in the enterprise.