Cisco Tablet: Google Android Meets Business Collaboration
What a difference a few weeks makes. During Cisco Partner Summit in April 2010, CEO John Chambers said the iPad was the first Apple device that he personally craved for business. Fast forward to the present and Cisco Systems is launching Cius, a business tablet that runs Google Android. Cisco Cius reinforces several key trends: The consumerization of corporate IT, the shift to mobile video and collaborative applications, and Google’s rise and Microsoft’s continued struggles in the mobile market. Here’s some more perspective from The VAR Guy.
First, some details on the Cisco Cius. The following tech specs are taken directly from Cisco’s web site. The Cius, according to Cisco’s marketing claims, features…
- 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3G/4G data and Bluetooth 3.0 help employees stay connected on and off-campus
- HD video (720p) with Cisco TelePresence solution interoperability for lifelike video communication with the simplicity of a phone call
- Virtual desktop client enables highly secure access to cloud-based business applications
- Android operating system, with access Android marketplace applications
- Collaboration applications including Cisco Quad, Cisco Show and Share, WebEx, Presence, and IM
- 7” diagonal, high-resolution color screen with contact-based touch targets delivers an elegant, intuitive experience
- HD Soundstation supports Bluetooth and USB peripherals, 10/100/1000 wired connectivity and a handset option
- Detachable and serviceable 8-hour battery for a full day of work
- Highly secure remote connections with Cisco AnyConnect Security VPN Client
- HD audio with wideband support (tablet, HD Soundstation)
Cisco says Cius customer trials will begin in the third quarter of calendar year 2010, with general availability in the first quarter of calendar year 2011. The VAR Guy hasn’t been able to determine target pricing for the device.
The Bigger Picture
Cius signals the latest “anything but Microsoft” development in the emerging tablet market. Among the recent vendor moves:
- Cisco embracing Google Android for the Cius.
- Dell promoting Android on the Dell Streak tablet.
- Hewlett-Packard apparently scrapping work on a Windows-centric tablet and acquiring Palm and WebOS.
No doubt, Microsoft still has high hopes for its smart phone and tablet operating system efforts. But will hardware vendors and independent software vendors remain loyal to Microsoft in those markets? Too soon to say, but the smart money seems to be moving toward Google, Linux and open source in recent months…
The Phone Becomes the Docking Station
Also of note: The VAR Guy has been wondering for more than a decade when desktop phones would transform into docking stations.
During a 1998 meeting with Palm, our resident blogger asked when PDAs would simply sit in a business phone docking station. The Palm folks looked downright puzzled by the question.
Fast forward to the present, and Cisco Cius seems to blur the line between voice, video, mobile and business computing devices. If Cisco succeeds, perhaps Cius will erase those lines for good.