With the occupation of the hot spot in the market by iPad of Apple Inc, there is about to develop some hassle in the market with the unveiling of another tablet computer Cius (Pronounced “See-us”) by Cisco Systems Inc who aim to take tablet computers into the business world. Apple launched the iPad tablet computer in March but Cisco, the world’s largest maker of networking equipment, said its own tablet, the Cius, has been in the works for a year and a half.
The Cisco Cius is a lightweight portable business computing tablet. It has an optional HD audio station equipped with a telephone handset speakerphone. It also has HD Display Port and USB ports making it more volatile. At 1.15 lbs., the device is an ultra-portable tablet that’s targeted at market segments that can benefit from real-time, video-based collaboration. The Cisco Cius tablet features a front-mounted HD camera which refreshes at up to 30 frames per second; a seven inch, high-resolution widescreen super VGA touch-target display for real-time and streamed video. It’s Wi-Fi-enabled and also has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera which gives the idea that it supports HD videoconferencing making it more business friendly.
On the software side, it’s built on Google’s Android OS, which makes it an open platform for communication and collaboration. It is compatible with Cisco’s suite of business software tools. It’s designed to be able to connect mobile employees with the right people and right content from within the network. Cisco says the advantage of using the operating system is that it will allow the company’s business customers to tap into the growing Android developer community, which is developing new business-class products. The Cius will offer support for Cisco collaboration applications such as Cisco Quad, Cisco Show and Share, Cisco Presence and Cisco WebEx Connect. Meanwhile, the device is supported by the Cisco Unified Communications manager and will take advantage of the Cisco Borderless Networks architecture.
Introduction of iPad gave an idea that it was trying to be everything to everyone. On the other side, Cisco has done it right with the Cius. They have targeted it to a particular market only and have aimed to make school or work more rewarding. John T. Chambers, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Cisco Systems Inc, never demonstrated this product for movie viewing or some other entertainment purposes. He demonstrated examples based on how students, for example, can collaborate with instructors and each other on projects or research. He also gave examples on how various big guns in the market can swallow this tablet.
Cisco Cius offers Bluetooth features also. It also features a contacts-driven user experience, designed to enable users to quickly reach their important contacts. An on-board accelerometer readily orients applications for viewing in portrait or landscape modes as users rotate the device to their preferred viewing orientation. The battery backup of 8 hours is a real strong feature but not as strong as Apple’s which is of 10 hours which uses an A4 chip which is more power efficient but the feature that sets it apart is its detachable and serviceable battery which in case of iPad is not user-removable.
The Cius will be able to use external monitors and wireless mice and keyboards, so it could even be used as a replacement for a desk computer by connecting to servers that run “virtualized” applications, Cisco said.
Cisco’s goal is to sell the Cius for less than $1,000. Now let’s wait and watch how this competition between iPad and Cius unfolds.
The writer is a tech-columnist of Youth Ki Awaaz.