Cisco announced Android tablet for business users

8h battery life, 1.5lb, Atom powered

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, but Cisco has announced a tablet of its own that’s powered by an unspecified 1.6GHz Atom processor, 32GB of flash memory and a claimed 8h battery life. Considering that Cisco has managed to squeeze this into a 1.5lb (520g) package is pretty impressive, but is this really the business tool we’ve all been waiting for that’ll make us more productive?

The tablet goes under the name of Cius and Cisco makes a lot of claims about how it’s meant to change the way we work. The Cius features a front facing 720p capable HD camera for video conferencing and this is one of the major selling points. There’s even a desk dock for the Cius which Cisco prefers to call the HD Soundstation. It makes the Cius look more like a video telephone than a tablet. The docking station adds DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 2.0 connectivity to the 7-inch tablet, just in case the small touch screen isn’t big enough.

The Cius also has a rear mounted 5Megapixel still camera that also offers VGA resolution streaming video. The Cius also packs 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth 3.0, an accelerometer and what appears to be optional 3G or 4G support. We like the fact that Cisco has figured out that a detachable battery is something that people like and even at a claimed 8h battery life, having the option to swap in a freshly charged power pack isn’t going to make anyone sad.

Interestingly, the Cius is an Android device and there have been some recent rumours about a native x86 port of Android and the Cius is a very likely candidate for this new Android port. On top of this Cisco has added support for its virtual desktop client, as well as support for Cisco TelePresence and various other collaboration applications from Cisco. The Cius can of course be used for email and web access (using Firefox) as well, but then again so can any other Android device.

Is this the tablet we’ve all been waiting for? Well, unlikely, but it’s an interesting take on a platform that so far haven’t really found its space in the market. We can’t see companies going out of their way to get their hands on the Cius, but it could well end up as an acceptable solution for some usage scenarios. Most business users already have a laptop as well as a smartphone and the Cius doesn’t really bring anything new to the table that these two devices can’t already do. It might be smaller than a notebook, but it’s also much more limited in terms of functionality and it doesn’t appear as if you can make normal voice calls with it, so it can’t replace a phone either. The tablet has yet to convince us, but this is at least a step in the right direction as a productivity tool.S|A

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