Healthcare's iPad killer: The Cisco Cius?

By Brian Dolan
07:13 am
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Cisco Cius TelePresenceCisco unveiled the Cisco Cius, a "mobile collaboration business tablet" that offers tight integration with Cisco's cloud services, video applications and more. Cisco's tablet is clearly looking to fill a potential gap created by Apple's iPad. Where the iPad is mostly seen as a device for content consumption, Cisco is touting its Cius as a device of "collaboration." While the iPad is certainly much more of a consumer device, Cisco promises security and touts enterprise applications for its "business tablet." What's more, the Cius offers two cameras -- front-facing and back, and a detachable serviceable battery that runs for up to eight hours under "normal" usage.

Cisco Cius Tablet Docking StationThe device is expected to ship during the first quarter of 2011 and Cisco plans to keep its pricepoint under $1,000.

The Cius (pronounced "See-us") is a 1.15 lb tablet computer that runs on Google's Android operating system, boasts HD video streaming and real-time video, multi-party conferencing, email, messaging, browsing, and the ability to produce, edit and share content stored locally or centrally in the cloud," according to the company. During its press event yesterday the company showed off the Cius' interoperability with Cisco's popular line of Flip cameras as well as its line of new smart grid gadgets, according to a report in GigaOm. According to the release the device also offers TelePresence when the unit is docked or connected to a WiFi network.

On the wireless front, the Cius offers 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and 3G cellular services, while 4G services will be available at a later date, according to Cisco. Cius also includes Bluetooth and Micro-USB.

Perhaps the biggest strike against Cisco's Cius is its 7-inch screen with Super-VGA resolution -- as a result medical imaging and diagnostic app developers may meet this device with tepid enthusiasm.

While the iPhone and other smartphone have enjoyed widespread adoption within the healthcare industry, the market for tablet computers is still uncertain. Unlike smartphones, many contend that tablets will require greater integration with a care facilities IT infrastructure, a task many believe will crush a lot of hopeful iPad physician enthusiasts once they bring it to their IT department.

Cisco's business tablet could be in a position to capitalize on those network integration fears with Cius, but with a targeted Q1 2011 launch date, Cisco is giving Apple and other early movers in the tablet space a good amount of lead time.

For more details, read the press release from Cisco here
For more about tablets in healthcare, purchase our latest report on the iPad in healthcare

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