A Cisco Cius software partner FAQ has leaked online, revealing further details on the Android-powered business tablet. Of note, the Cius will run under $1,000 but cost “twice the price of an Apple iPad,” and ship with Android 2.2 (Froyo).
In the document, Cisco reinforces the notion that the Cius is not a consumer tablet, but rather a “first-of-its- kind mobile collaboration device.” Later, the document claims, “With Cius, casual and highly mobile employees benefit from a communications, collaboration and computing solution.”
The Cius will run Android 2.2 underneath a custom wrapper loaded with Cisco communications apps, including:
- Cisco WebEx
- Instant Messaging
- Cisco Unified Presence
- Cisco WebEx Mail
- Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client
- Cisco Quad, Cisco Show and Share
- Cisco Unity Connection
- Virtual Desktop Client
- Android Web Browser (WebKit)
- Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client
Cisco claims that they are “committed to keeping up with the Android releases to enable new features and functionality,” suggesting that the Cius will update to Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) once available.
Unlike many other Android tablets on the market, the Cius will have access to the Android Market for additional applications. IT managers can restrict user access to the application marketplace if security is a concern.
From the document, Cisco seems keenly aware of the inevitable iPad comparisons. For example, Cisco explained the apple and oranges nature of comparing the enterprise-centric Cius to the consumer-friendly Apple iPad. Quoting directly from the document, they include:
- Cisco Unified Communications –employees get the same desktop business communications features with Cius, whether at their desk or mobile. Cius will leverage the best elements in user experience from both the IP Phone 9900 Series’ design and that of Cisco’s Client Services Framework (i.e. Cisco Unified Personal Communicator). In addition, Cisco will use its networking technology to provide the quality of service businesses expect.
- Cisco Collaboration – Interoperability with Cisco’s TelePresence solution is unique to Cisco Cius such that employees can participate in larger video conferences with a superior HD video experience. In addition, employees will benefit from Cisco Quad for virtual teaming, Cisco Show and Share for secure video sharing, Cisco WebEx for conferencing and real-time file exchange, Cisco Unified Presence and so many more. These are capabilities that consumer tablets do not offer.
- Virtual Desktop Integration – With Cisco Cius, support for a virtual desktop client will be provided day one. This provides an opportunity to consolidate devices at the desktop, while delivering full mobile access to employees, including Cloud Computing, where business applications are migrated to the Data Center. Combined with the local computing and storage capabilities of Cisco Cius, IT organizations now have the option to replace an employee’s PC, based on their strategic objectives and user preferences, to save additional money, in addition to centralizing administration.
- Security – At Cisco, we know security and with Cisco Cius, you benefit from full encrypted communications end-to-end voice and data networking. Protecting your most valuable asset – your intellectual property. Cisco Cius comes standard with Cisco AnyConnect VPN client for a secure connection wherever you are, media and signaling encryption, secure boot up to ensure only Cisco authorized software is installed and remote wipe applications in the event Cius is stolen or lost. Cisco Cius delivers enterprise class security, unlike consumer-based tablets today.
- IT Management – Cisco Cius is designed to support IT organizations need for a centrally provisioned and administered device. It will be administered, provisioned and managed from Cisco Unified Communications Manager.
According the Cisco, the Cius will support video over both 3G and 4G data networks, and Cisco is in talks with “multiple service providers across the globe” for service.
The Cisco will release the Cius in limited quanities at the end of 2010, with general availablilty slated for Q1 2011.