Cisco is getting into the tablet game — but it isn’t aiming to take on the iPad directly. Yesterday, the company’s CEO John Chambers unveiled the Cisco Cius, its Android-powered tablet, which is focused on video communication and productivity applications.
Cius is targeted to students and professionals, and not necessarily general consumers. Chambers didn’t show it off as a movie viewer, ZDNet points out, and other entertainment features were similarly ignored. Instead, it’s aiming for familiar Cisco territory, with full support for its suite of business collaboration software like WebEx and TelePresence.
The 1.15 lb tablet features a front-facing camera that can broadcast 720p high-definition video, as well as a secondary 5-megapixel camera on the back. Its battery is removable, and it includes an accelerometer (like pretty much every touchscreen device these days). Users will be able to take advantage of the cameras with HD video conferencing and group video chat. And being an Android device, it also supports typical applications like e-mail and web browsing.
That it’s focused on certain markets isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but by next year, Apple may update the iPad to better support video conferencing — particularly since it just introduced FaceTime video chat on the iPhone 4. At that point, Cisco, like Amazon, would be better off making sure its services work on the iPad rather than closing them off to its own device.
There’s no word yet on pricing. Cisco plans for customer trials of the device in the third quarter of this year, and it will be available for everyone in 2011.
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