A year after it was first introduced, Cisco Systems has trotted out its Cisco Cius tablet again for a closer look along with a brand new platform for deploying and buying mobile apps called AppHQ.
Although at first glance and even on paper this tablet is reminiscent of the not-so-popular BlackBerry PlayBook, the Cisco Cius tablet actually functions quite differently. (For starters, there is a native email app that supports IMAP, POP, Exchange and more for running both personal and business accounts.)
It's also a bit bulkier than the PlayBook, and definitely thicker than the latest Apple iPad 2 and Samsung Galaxy Tab collection. However, it fits rather perfectly into the telephone docking station its intended for as the Cius is built for teleconferencing and other work collaboration purposes.
The Cius also has a few amenities that the iPad sorely lacks, including a micro SD card slot and HDMI connectivity that can be used to turn the Cius into a virtual desktop for the nearest compatible monitor. Sure, both of these things can be added to the iPad using connector cables that Apple has released this year, but it's much easier for the user just to have these features integrated from the start.
Although it looks like a regular Froyo tablet at times, there are several unique differences that Cisco has implemented - namely AppHQ. The app platform places way more control in the hands of developers than other tablets have so far. IT administrators can either choose to leave full range, open access to the Android Market or limit the apps available for purchasing and downloading to the Cius as they please.
Check out the video below for a quick look at the overall user interface (embedded on top of Android 2.2) as well as AppHQ: