Cius, PlayBook, Flare: Exploring the new wave of Unified Communications tablets


Some of the biggest news of late has been the launch of several tablet devices on the heels of the suprise hit from Apple--the iPad. The oversized iPhone wasn't really being looked at seriously as an enterprise device, but enterprise device manufactures and IP communications service providers have recognized the opportunity such an interface could present to their customers and a new line of tablets are gracing users' laps and desktops. Cisco's Cius, BlackBerry's Playbook, and Avaya's Flare UI/DVD are just some of the new offerings to take advantage of this trend.

Cisco Cius

The Cisco Cius is an Android-based tablet device that supports 720p HD video with Cisco TelePresence for lifelike video communication. The device includes a desktop client and a secure connection to cloud-based business apps. Collaboration tools include Cisco Quad, Cisco Show and Share, WebEx, Presence and IM as well as any apps from the Android marketplace. It supports WiFi, 3G, and Bluetooth.

The Cisco Cius includes a 7" diagonal, high-resolution color screen with contact-based touch targets and HD audio with wideband support. It also sports an HD media station that supports Bluetooth and USB peripherals, 10/100/1000 wired connectivity and a handset option. The device includes a detachable 8-hour battery. It offers a highly secure remote connection with the Cisco AnyConnect Security VPN Client.

At right you can see the Cius sitting atop its docking station.

Read more on the Cius in the release.


BlackBerry PlayBook

The BlackBerry PlayBook is  half an inch thick and weighs less than a pound. It features a 7" high resolution display and a 1 GHz dual-core processor. The tablet features dual HD cameras for video capture and video conferencing that can both record HD (up to 1080p) video at the same time. It also includes an HDMI-out port for presenting HD video from the tablet.

A major difference from its competitors is that this device doesn't run on Android, instead the new BlackBerry Tablet OS is at the heart of the user experience.  For enterprises whose users all carry BlackBerries, the new tablet will pair with the smartphones allowing users to access all email, messages, calenders and documents that reside on their smartphone without the risk of duplication or corruption.

Currently the device runs on WiFi and supports Bluetooth. Future 3G and 4G versions are in the works.

Read about it more in the Release


Avaya Flare / Desktop Video Device

Ok, lets remember that the Avaya Flare is the user interface that Avaya has developed to run on their tablet--as well as the desktop and other future devices. The tablet itself has the less catchy, more utilitarian name of Desktop Video Device.

The Desktop Video Device is HD ready with an 11.6" HD (1366x768) multi-touch LCD screen with built-in 5MP camera. The tablet is WiFi connected, Bluetooth ready and has a 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet RJ45 jack as well as USB ports. The battery is said to last a minimum of 3 hours and is removable.

The main focus of Avaya's release of this device was on the Flare UI. Flare runs on Android and includes a one-stop shop for unified communications functionalities. Capabilities include desktop video, social media, audio/video/web conferencing, multiple directories, presence, instant messaging, and contextual history. Flare leverages the SIP-based Avaya Aura communications platform to deliver real-time, multi-session and multi-modal communications.

For more read the release.