Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), the world’s largest maker of networking equipment, will begin selling its new Cius tablet computer to businesses at the end of July, hoping corporate users will drive adoption.
The device, which will have a 7-inch (18 centimeters) screen, will be available to corporate customers only, Tom Puorro, a senior director at Cisco, said at an event today at the company’s headquarters in San Jose, California. Thousands of customers have been sampling the Android-based tablet computer, which is designed to enable voice and video calls as well as other social-networking tools, Puorro said. It will be priced at about $750.
Cisco’s computer will compete with choices that include Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad and Research in Motion Ltd. (RIMM)’s Playbook. The device also vies with efforts inside the company, which have enabled its online meeting software Webex and Quad social networking tool to work on the iPad.
Cisco says other tablets don’t have the “seamless integration” of the Cius, which allows users to quickly toggle between text, voice and video. The tablet computer will also allow companies to connect it directly to their secure corporate networks and tailor features.
“It’s not just e-mail, browsing and watching movies,” Pourro said in a separate interview today. “It’s the real-time collaboration tools that set it apart. You’re not going to get the level of integration with others that you get with the Cius.”
The Cius is Wi-Fi only and will be powered by Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. (T) A 4G version will come later, the company said.
Cisco rose 21 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $15.34 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq trading. The shares are down 24 percent this year.
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