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Cisco Cius Android Tablet Hands-On

In the market for a $750 Android tablet with an IT-controlled closed ecosystem, Atom processor, and a requisite middle man to place your order? Then you probably work for a corporation. Cisco’s Cius Android tablet was designed with a Cisco infrastructure in mind, focusing heavily on security and integration with other products. Sure, you can watch HD video or play Angry Birds (if IT is willing to flip the switch on game downloads), but you’ll mostly be using the Cius to join WebEx presentations, TelePresence conferences, and access custom enterprise apps — this is not the tablet to give your kids, for someone just looking to browse the web, or really for anyone not working at a company that already depends heavily on Cisco services. Basically, if a Cius magically appears on your desk one day, you’ll know it’s right for you.

Today Cisco launched AppHQ, a custom app store created to give IT departments complete control over device app loading, allowing them to limit access only to enterprise apps, or the entire Android Market. We went hands-on with the tablet and AppHQ at the company’s offices in NYC, and were impressed with the tablet’s ability to integrate seamlessly with Cisco services. Even though Cius isn’t intended to be used for entertainment, it’s designed to be both your primary portable device and desktop workstation — so that ability to play HD video will definitely come in handy. You can access all of Cisco’s popular communications tools, making private calls as you walk, joining a video conference from the train over AT&T or Verizon LTE, and then slipping the device into its dock once you reach the office, which adds speakerphone functionality, three USB ports, video out, and even Ethernet connectivity. You can use Cius to access an offsite virtual Windows desktop, using a mouse, keyboard, and monitor to control your primary machine. The tablet has begun rolling out to some clients and will be available worldwide on July 31st.