This week Cisco’s CEO, John Chambers, disclosed that the company was developing a small slate computer that it would begin testing late this year but not release until 2011.
Cisco’s move into small form factor tablet computing isn’t surprising. The form factor is well suited for process-intensive applications such as network or website monitoring and could easily be marketed to IT professionals and technicians who are engaged in such tasks.
According to Cisco, its Cius tablet will have a 7-inch screen, 32 GB of solid state memory, use an Intel Atom processor and run Google’s Android operating system. The networking company also said Cius will support 802.11 and 3G connectivity.
Although Cisco’s tablet will join a burgeoning market, private branded devices such as Cius—appear to be a good way for mechanism for rewarding and encouraging customer loyalty.
Tablets that have 3G connectivity seem to be ideally suited for critically important corporate process operations such as IT. Not only does cell data connectivity allow managers to monitor functionality away from limited range 802.11 connectivity, it also provides a mechanism—voice cell calls from a 3G connected tablet-- for making immediate personal contact to resolve issues in critical processes as they arise.
The ability of 3G and 4F capable tablet computers make such them truly multi-path communications capable devices, providing the underlying operating system is truly multi-processing capable. Although VOIP programs make this capable now, the ability to use a tablet as a cell phone, and have access to real-time, actionable, information is an important feature that can be used to market new tablets effectively.
Cisco’s tablet is ecpected to become available in 2011, at about the same time as many similar poducts, including numerous other private and consumer electronics products.—Jim Forbes 07/03/2010.