Cisco announced that its Android-based Cius tablet will finally go on sale on July 31 for $750.
The Cius will seem expensive compared to the iPad 2, which starts at $499. However, Cisco has a strong enterprise following and has named business customers among early Cius users who apparently see the value of a new set of AppHQ applications built specially for the Cius.
AppHQ is designed to help IT shops create, manage and deploy tablet applications in their businesses, Cisco said in a statement.
AppHQ will also help companies create private app storefronts where their employees will be able to find, publish and buy applications for business use, a Cisco spokeswoman said. AppHQ will also offer developers tools to create, test and market apps, while giving IT managers the ability to control which apps can be used on the Cius, she added. IT managers can also select from about 200,000 applications for Cius in the Android Marketplace.
When Cisco first announced the Cius in June 2010, it said that the tablet would offer integration to the company's collaboration applications, which are valued by businesses. Today, Cisco said the Cius is integrated with several Cisco products, including Webex meeting software, Quad social software, the Jabber messaging tool and the TelePresence real-time videoconferencing system.
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 that pulls patient records from disparate facilities on demand and lets doctors consult via email and videoconference as they view the patient information.
Cisco also named CDW, Nervecentre Software, Nottingham University Hospitals, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Verizon as customers using Cius.
The 7-in. Cius runs Android 2.2 and weighs 1.5 lbs. It uses the low-power Intel Atom Z615 chip, with a 1.2GHz processing speed. Suppliers said Cius will be upgraded to Android 3.0, Honeycomb, but Cisco has not confirmed when or how the upgrade would occur.
Cisco said customers can get the $750 Cius for less than $700 if they take advantage of the Triple V (voice, video and virtualization) promotion, which runs through October, but further details were not announced.
Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney said the Cius is worth $750 if a company needs the comprehensive management framework that comes with it.
"It's unique. As a generic tablet, it won't succeed," Dulaney said in an email.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.