Cisco Cius review: First Look

The Cisco Cius is an Android tablet designed specifically for businesses, but can it succeed in such an incredibly competitive market where others have not? We take a sneak peek at the Cius to find out.

App HQ looks more like the iTunes Store than Android Market, but unlike either of those two stores, volume licenses for paid apps will be available. Cisco claims there will be around 250 apps available in AppHQ which is roughly the same as the current number of Honeycomb-optimised apps available in Android Market on 3.0 tablets and some of the apps are in AppHQ are also publicly available in the Market for 3.0 tablets.

AppHQ will be open to any developers willing to take part, but Cisco will screen submitted apps. Although Cisco executive have said the screening process, or Remote Application Validation Environment (RAVE), won't be as stringent as Apple's, it will be stricter than Google and the Android Market about which apps it will allow into AppHQ.

The Cisco Cius has an unusual two-port dock connector alongside its audio out and microHDMI ports

The Cisco Cius has an unusual two-port dock connector alongside its audio out and microHDMI ports.

All together now

Cisco isn't relying on just third party developers to add value to the Cius though. The company has built in support for its own services. There will be apps for Cisco's own Quad corporate social network and Jabber IM network. The latter will also federate with other XMPP chat networks/clients.

TelePresence, Unified Communications and WebEx support will be deeply integrated into the Cius.

TelePresence, Unified Communications and WebEx support will be deeply integrated into the Cius. For example if you're viewing the details of a meeting in the calendar app, it will be possible to start a WebEx conference with all the confirmed participants by simply tapping the WebEx icon.

The contacts app will log all emails, IMs, phone calls etc for each of your contacts, which will please compliance departments if no-one else. If a person is on the phone, offline or otherwise unavailable, this will be noted in the app so you can stop ringing them fruitlessly and send an email instead.

Video conferencing using TelePresence worked smoothly during a demonstration at Cisco's London offices which admittedly benefits from a very fast network. Image quality from the HD-capable front-facing camera was sharp, clear and bright. When the Cius was disconnected from an Ethernet network and logged onto a wireless network the video conference automatically switched over too.

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