Cisco plans an Android-based business tablet

The Cius will sport more networking capabilities than the iPad, plus videoconferencing and keyboard/mouse support

Cisco Systems has announced the Cius tablet, a handheld device designed to help users run business applications and communicate in real time. It will use the Google Android OS, feature a 7-inch touch screen and 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, weighs just over 1.5 pounds, and provide about eight hours of battery life, according to Cisco.

Cisco calls the Cius a "business tablet," and also a virtual desktop designed to access cloud computing services. Pricing is not yet final but should be under $1,000, the company said. Some units will be available this fall, though general availability is not expected until early 2011.

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The Cius will sport 802.11a/b/g/n (Wi-Fi) and Bluetooth wireless networking capabilities. It will be able to connect to 3G mobile broadband networks, and support for 4G will be available at a later date, Cisco said. The device will include a Micro-USB port, as well as 32GB of flash storage and support for Secure Digital cards.

The tablet also will come with advanced communication capabilities that work with Cisco's unified communications and collaboration tools. It will be able to quickly establish instant-message sessions, voice calls, and videoconferencing sessions, Cisco claimed. The device will interoperate with Cisco's TelePresence videoconferencing system and work with Cisco applications including Cisco Quad, Cisco Show, and WebEx tools.

On campuses, the tablet will be dockable into the HD Soundstation, which provides wired networking connectivity for a full desktop experience, according to Cisco's Web site. The docking station can also display high-definition content from the tablet on a connected monitor. Users will also be able to connect USB or Bluetooth keyboards and mice to the docking station for a traditional desktop experience.

The Cius will come with a front-facing high-definition video camera that can record 720p video at 30 frames per second and a 5-megapixel camera at the back that can capture high-quality video and still images. Users will be able to engage in live video calls when the tablet is docked or being held, the company said.

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