The Cius tablet that Cisco announced earlier today may seem like just a business-flavored Android runner up to the iPad, aiming to fill a niche between your company-issued laptop and your smartphone. But Cisco’s senior vice president for voice technology, Barry O’Sullivan, has bigger plans: Combined with virtualization, he wants it to replace your mobile phone, desktop phone, and even your desktop PC.
O’Sullivan told us in an interview that Cisco is negotiating with two out of the major three desktop virtualization providers–Wyse, VMware, and Citrix–to ship the device with virtual desktop software ready to run. (It’s safe to guess that VMware is one of those two, given Cisco’s close relationship with the company.)
That would allow the Cius to act as a “thin client”–a stripped down PC that acts as a window on a virtual computer in a remote data center. Put a Cius into its dock with a landline handset connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and it could load your virtual Mac or Windows desktop and act just like a traditional PC as well as a desk phone. “If your company’s running desktop virtualization, this will be the only device you need on your desktop,” says O’Sullivan.
But take it out of the dock and it also could become a mobile device for videoconferencing, checking email, or running any other Android apps. (Cisco still hasn’t announced a wireless partner.)
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Andy Greenberg / Forbes