Cisco Creates Apps Ecosystem For Cius Tablet

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Networking giant Cisco is also entering the apps marketplace with its own ecosystem for the Cius tablet

Cisco Systems has joined a crowded apps market after it introduced its own apps ecosystem for its Cius tablet.

The AppHQ app ecosystem is designed for IT pros seeking to create, manage and deploy tablet applications within their enterprise.

Cisco is pairing it with the Cius, an Android-based tablet that emphasises voice, video, collaboration and virtualisation capabilities.

Enterprise Tablet

The 7-inch Cius is scheduled for a 31 July global release, with an estimated price point below $750 (£469). Cisco plans on integrating a number of branded products into the user interface, including Cisco TelePresence, Cisco WebEx meeting applications, Cisco Quad social software and Cisco Jabber messaging.

Cisco will allow businesses to host their own private app store within the AppHQ storefront. Those private stores will be customisable down to corporate logos and icons. In keeping with standards of enterprise security, IT managers will have control over which employees within an organisation can download apps, and grant access to those apps based on type, source and category. Every application within the AppHQ storefront will undergo validation testing.

“Cisco is extending its leadership in networked collaboration to the mobile form factor in a highly secure and controlled way,” Barry O’Sullivan, senior vice president of Cisco’s Communications and Collaboration Group, wrote in a 29 June statement. “Our customers’ positive response to Cius reflects how technology can change not only when and how we work, but also the way IT will deliver collaborative services to employees, and do so in a way that meets the needs of end users and developers and IT managers.”

Chequered Past

Cisco has a history of plunging into new product categories, only to retreat a short time later. In February, Cisco killed off Cisco Mail, its hosted email service, a mere 13 months after launch. Cisco Mail had faced several established players, including Google Apps and Microsoft’s Exchange Online; in the face of that, the service apparently had trouble attracting sufficient customers.

Cisco also shut down its Flip video camera business, which it had purchased for $590 million (£369m) in 2009. Flip sales tumbled during the 2010 holiday season, calling into question both Cisco’s marketing and the ability of a dedicated device like a digital camcorder to survive in a world of do-everything smartphones and tablets.

However, Cisco evidently feels it can make inroads in the crowded tablet market, currently dominated by Apple’s iPad.

A variety of manufacturers, including Motorola and Samsung, have introduced Android-based tablets over the past few quarters. Meanwhile, Research In Motion is hoping its PlayBook tablet will allow it to make inroads among the same enterprise audience that embraced the BlackBerry.

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