Cisco To Have An Android Tablet Of Their Very Own

First came Android, the mobile OS. Then came the first Android phone, the G1. Then came the Nexus One, the first true gPhone — Google top to bottom. And it just kept going from there.

Today, not yet three years into development, Android is available on dozens of devices, from phones to e-readers to netbooks and more. It's taken the #2 spot in the mobile OS world — well ahead of the "unkillable" iPhone — and reportedly is slated to take on Apple's other hot toy of the moment.

Given the explosive growth and variety of devices sporting the OS, it comes as little surprise when a manufacturer announces they have a new Android offering in the works. Unless, that is, if the manufacturer is a networking giant and the announcement comes out of nowhere.

Such was the case this afternoon, when word reached us that Cisco — a name we associate with switches, not smartphones — announced it will bring an Android tablet to market.

The device in question, dubbed the Cius, will be a bit different than most Android tablets — both those on the market and on the drawing board. Rather than entering the consumer market, which plenty of other manufacturers are tripping over themselves to do, Cisco intends to tie up the business market with what it calls "the most portable, powerful, reliable, and secure communications, computing, and collaboration experience for a device of its kind."

Marketing-speak aside, Cisco says the 1.5lb box will boast a 1.6GHz Atom processor, 32GB of flash memory, a 7" high-definition touchscreen, WiFi, 3G/4G cellular service, Bluetooth, and an eight-hour battery life, among other things. There will also be two onboard cameras — a front-mounted 720p HD model with a 30 frames-per-second refresh rate, and a rear-mounted 5-megapixel model for video or still shots — as well as dual noise-canceling mics.

That the tablet is aimed at the business market is made clear by features like the "HD Soundstation" dock, which adds native support for USB 2.0 & Bluetooth 3.0 peripherals, along with integrated HD speakers and support for dual independent displays. As one would expect, there will be tight integration with Cisco's line of enterprise services, and an overall focus on cloud-based solutions.

According to Cisco, the Cius will also have access to the Android Market. This piques our interest, as to our knowledge, no Android tablet — indeed, no non-smartphone devices whatsoever — have access to the Market, period. Though Android itself is Open Source, access to the Android Market is controlled by Google, and is granted only to devices that gain a passing grade from its "Compatibility Test Suite." If the Cius makes it though, it will definitely be a first of its kind.

The company says it plans to begin testing the device with customers in the fall, and expects the Cius to be generally available after the first of the year. An extensive look at the device and its capabilities is available from

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