A year ago today, we predicted that Cisco’s enterprise-focused 7-inch Cius tablet would never ship. It was a reasonable prediction at the time, but it turns out we were wrong. In fact, the Cisco Cius tablet did ship in late March, barely making its promised release date of “Q1 2011.” Today, Cisco unveiled its latest product for Cius, the AppHQ application storefront, hoping to gain a little more traction with potential enterprise customers.
Basically, AppHQ is a way of keeping the applications on an enterprise device safe and secure. The Cius itself is an Android tablet running 2.2 Froyo, so the Android Market is already in place. But the notion of employees downloading random apps to the same device that holds sensitive company data is likely to cause heart attacks in the IT department. With AppHQ, IT has total and complete power over what applications are available to the company’s users.
AppHQ is already loaded with plenty of Android apps, but Cisco tests those apps to make sure that they keep all the company’s information safe. On top of that, companies can develop applications specific to their own business, and create a “store-within-a-store,” if you will.
So let’s say you work for Sony, and you’ve created this, that and the other app for your employees’ Cius tablets. You can publish those apps to AppHQ, but then every other company using Cius has access to them. By upgrading to the store-within-a-store format, those Sony-specific apps are only available to your employees. Businesses also have the option to customize their storefront with logos, various color schemes, and icons to make the app store experience as company-specific as possible. As expected, store-within-a-store costs extra, but details on that weren’t available.
Luckily, the Cius will grab Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) once it’s ready, and has 4G support “planned.” On July 31, the Cisco Cius will roll out globally, along with its new AppHQ storefront. The 7-inch tablet is priced at $750, but bulk orders may see a discount depending on size.