Cisco Cius tablet set to hit African markets in early 2012


Just like 2011, the new-year is expected to have some exciting tidings for device enthusiasts, with networking firm Cisco announcing early that its Android-powered tablet, Cisco Cius, could be available in other African markets – including Kenya, Nigeria and North Africa – in early 2012 for the corporate market.

Speaking during the Cisco Expo 2011

The Cisco Cius with no docking station.

in South Africa, Den Sullivan, Cisco head of architectures and enterprise for emerging markets said that the Cisco Cius is not competing with consumer tablet vendors.

“The Cius is aimed at the enterprise and corporate tablet segment as it supports and enables TelePresence. The Cius comes with guaranteed security and has different levels of access to corporate data according to a user’s location,” said Sullivan.

The device, expected to retail at over $ 750, is currently available and in use by various corporate organizations in South Africa where about 100,000 units have already been sold. The price does not include the tablet’s docking station and analysts speculate that the docking station can drive the price to about $ 1,000.

The device, first unveiled at CiscoLive 2011 annual customer conference in Las Vegas, will be sold through resellers, utilizes the docking station as an alternative to staff telephone handsets and PCs. 

The Cius tablet’s comes with Wi-Fi; 4G data; Bluetooth to help employees stay connected while mobile; HD video including interoperability with Cisco TelePresence systems and Cisco’s collaboration applications including Cisco Quad, Jabber instant messaging (IM) and Presence and WebEx.

The Cisco Cius weighs about 1.15 pounds and also has a smaller screen than an iPad’s at only 7 inches. The battery is detachable and can run for 8 hours. 

By being smaller and lighter than the iPad, analysts contend that the Cisco Cius “is potentially better for reading corporate communications, visiting corporate websites and managing projects” according to an earlier review. The device could also be one of the first to link video communications across Cisco’s services, allow people to call in to TelePresence meetings and show live feeds from whichever location. 

The other tablet which comes with a docking station is the South Africa-manufactured Mecer Express Business Slate which runs Windows operating system (OS). The device, also targeted at the business or enterprise segement, costs $ 722 without its accessories – docking station and wireless keyboard – while when fully fitted, it costs $ 949.