New Cius tablet takes on Apple's iPad

Many people thought the iPhone was going to shake up mobile healthcare until Google's Android operating system came along. The same could happen for larger devices, too.

Though Apple has sold more than 3 million units of the iPad in just three months, and the tablet-like computer has been widely hailed for its potential in healthcare, it's got some new, Android-powered competition: Cisco's Cius. Introduced just before the July 4 long weekend, the Cius weighs in at a mere 1.15 pounds and boasts a 7-inch touch screen--lighter than the iPad, but smaller and with lower screen resolution. The Apple App Store also blows away any and all competition when it comes to variety of apps.

Where the Cius may have the iPad beat is in the enterprise market. "Apple is generally considered a consumer company, and many CIOs are hesitant to use Apple products because the company offers no enterprise road map, whereas other vendors do [though it does offer enterprise services]. Therefore, a competing tablet with similar capabilities from a trusted vendor is going to be attractive to CIOs," networking consultant Ryan Faas writes in Computerworld.

It may come down to user preference. "The truth is that for most hospitals and practices, there's really little difference between the Cius and the iPad [or a PC]," Faas says. As long as data on tablets are protected to HIPAA and state specifications, both platforms are fine for healthcare. "With no major technical differences, the deciding factor between the Cius and the iPad may come down to what IT wants to purchase and support versus what physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers want. IT departments may feel more comfortable with the Cius because it is from a well-known vendor [especially since they're likely used to managing Cisco products].

"Providers may prefer the iPad because it's a device they may already be familiar with and comfortable using. They might also already be using their own iPads on the job, and it may be harder for IT to sell the idea of using another device."

Hey, that sounds an awful lot like the smartphone market after all.

For more:
- check out this Computerworld column