Cisco announced that it's making an Android tablet called the Cisco Cius, joining plenty of other companies who are working on ones of their own. But the Cius has a twist: This tablet is strictly business, combining traditional office tasks with a portable, touch-screen display. Cisco won't start consumer trials of the tablet until the third quarter, with general availability coming in the first quarter of 2011. But let's take a closer look at what we know so far.
Cisco's Cius is a 7-inch tablet with a 720p front-facing camera, which records video at 30 frames per second. It supports portrait and landscape modes with a built-in accelerometer, and those speakers look like they could handle low-talkers with ease.
Cius' base station looks like a key feature, but it's actually an optional accessory with full-sized USB ports and HDMI. Sure, you don't really need the handset during video conferences, but just imagine talking to clients on the phone while watching YouTube videos on the tablet.
Cisco hasn't said much about the software platform except that it's "based on the Android operating system," with collaboration through the cloud as a focal point. Supported software from Cisco will include Quad, Show and Share, WebEx Connect, WebEx Meeting Center, Presence, and interoperability with Cisco TelePresence.
The Website Tecnografo spotted a prototype Cius tablet at Cisco's conference in Las Vegas, and snapped a few photos. Here, you can see the 5-megapixel, rear-facing camera, which can take pictures and stream VGA-quality video.
In another Tecnografo photo, it's clear that the Cius is no iPad in terms of figure, but that's probably not the point. Besides, Cisco had to fit all those cameras in there somehow.
The top of the Cius, in this Tecnografo photo, shows off the tablet's Micro-USB connection for sharing media with PCs. Hopefully it won't come to that, because the Cius can connect via Bluetooth, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and 3G as well.
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