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Going up against the Cisco Cius tablet, Avaya is entering the tablet PC space with a device designed to make unified communications and collaboration via voice, video and text easier than before. The Avaya Flare Experience is an Android-based tablet device with an 11.6-inch HD multi-touch LCD screen.

With a built-in 5MP camera, Wi-Fi connectivity, a 10/100/1000 Fast Ethernet port, dual microphones, stereo speakers, USB ports and a three-hour battery, the Flare Experience is one of the few tablet PCs designed specifically for the enterprise market, which means it will come into direct competition with Cisco Systems’ Cius business tablet PC and, to a lesser extent, the Dell Streak and Apple iPad (both of which were designed for consumers but have found some traction in the enterprise market).

According to Avaya, the Flare Experience was developed to simplify video communications in the enterprise.

"To be fully productive, employees need to simply connect via easy-to-use, fully integrated video, voice and text capabilities," said Kevin Kennedy, president and CEO of Avaya, in a statement. "This is the heart of Avaya’s people-centric approach to collaboration and the means to faster, better results with less effort and a lower total cost of ownership. We’re delivering a more potent collaboration experience at one-third the cost using substantially less bandwidth over other solutions on the market today."

The Avaya Flare Experience provides users with drag-and-drop capabilities for voice and video calling, as well as the ability to download and install business and productivity applications, including ones developed for the Android platform.

“It is an important development,” said Charles King, president and principal analyst at Pund-IT. “There’s been a … huge degree of interest around tablet computing that’s largely been dominated by Apple and the iPad since the early part of this year. With products like the Avaya Flare and the Dell Streak and the Cisco Cius, we’re starting to see not just new products coming to market but also different sorts of philosophies of what tablet computing can be and can actually accomplish.”

Unlike Dell and Apple, both Avaya and Cisco designed their tablets around the needs of the enterprise and business communicators, which makes both the Flare Experience and the Cius part of a new form factor for unified communications solutions, King said. They’re fundamentally different types of products from the more consumer offerings.