Cisco's Android-based Cius tablet to go on sale July 31

Cius's collaboration and IT-friendly features may attract early business customers, but at $750 it will seem expensive compared to the iPad

Cisco announced its Android-based Cius tablet will finally go on sale for $750 on July 31. Compared to the starting price of $499 for the popular iPad 2, the Cius will seem expensive. However, Cisco has a strong enterprise following and has named business customers among early Cius users who apparently see the value of a new AppHQ set of applications built specially for the Cius.

AppHQ is designed to help IT create, manage and deploy tablet applications in their businesses, Cisco said in a statement. AppHQ will also help companies create private app storefronts for their employees to find, publish and buy applications for business use, a Cisco spokeswoman said. Developers will also have tools to create, test and market apps, while IT managers will have the ability to control which apps can be used on the Cius, she added. IT managers can also select from about 200,000 applications in the Android Marketplace.

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When Cius was first announced in June 2010, it was described as offering integration to Cisco's collaboration applications which are valued by businesses. Today, Cisco said Cius is integrated with several Cisco products, including Webex meeting software, Quad social software, Jabber messaging, and TelePresence real-time videoconferencing.

Early adopter Orlando Portale, CIO at Palomar Pomerado Health, said in a statement that Cius gives doctors "a better collaboration tool with access to real-time data, regardless of location, in order to help them make more timely decisions." He said Palomar has built an app called Medication Information Anytime Anywhere, which pulls patient records from disparate facilities on demand and lets doctors consult via email and videoconferencing as they view the patient information.

Portale said that his group chose Cius because it runs on a flexble Android platform and has enterprise-class security, virtualization, and collaboration features such as HD video.

Cisco also named CDW, Nervecentre Software, Nottingham University Hospitals, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Verizon as customers using Cius.

The 7-inch Cius runs the smartphone version of Android (2.2 Froyo) and weighs 1.5 pounds. It uses the low-power Intel Atom Z615 chip, with a 1.2GHz processing speed. Suppliers said Cius will be upgraded to the tablet version of Android (3.0 Honeycomb), but Cisco has not confirmed when or how the upgrade would occur.

Cisco said the $750 Cius price can be reduced to below $700 with a Triple V (voice, video, and virtualization) promotion available through October, but further details were not disclosed.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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This story, "Cisco's Android-based Cius tablet to go on sale July 31" was originally published by Computerworld.

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