Cisco Systems Inc. is trying to remove the techspeak from home Wi-Fi routers and make the equipment easier to install and set up.
The company is introducing a new brand in consumer routers: Cisco Valet. It will be the first time it sells consumer routers without the Linksys brand, which it acquired in 2003. But it is keeping the Linksys brand for more techie-oriented routers.
This is very much a reflection of Cisco’s goal of becoming a household brand, said Scott Kabat, director of marketing at Cisco Consumer Products.
The focus on ease of setup is intended to address common frustrations about Wi-Fi routers. Some retailers report that one in four routers is returned because buyers can’t set it up, Kabat said.
It’s not a good consumer experience today, he said.
Cisco decided to tap the know-how of engineers from PureDigital, the maker of Flip camcorders, which Cisco acquired last year. PureDigital came from nowhere to sell millions of camcorders because it made it easy to shoot and share the footage online.
Valet is to wireless what Flip is to home video, said Kabat, who led brand marketing at PureDigital.
Valet will come in two versions, one for $100 and another, with longer wireless range, for $150. That’s more than the equivalent new Linksys routers, which start at $79. But rather than having standard setup CDs, each Valet will come with a USB flash drive. The drive configures each computer to use the Wi-Fi hot spot, cutting the steps required to set up Wi-Fi.
Universities offer students free iPads
A western Pennsylvania university is offering free iPads to all full-time students starting this fall.
Seton Hill University in suburban Pittsburgh says about 1,500 students are eligible for the Apple tablet computers. The highly anticipated product went on sale April 3.
University officials say the iPad will make electronic textbooks easier to download and use.
They also say it will let students create and share work instantly with peers and faculty.
George Fox University in Oregon will offer incoming freshmen the choice between an iPad or an Apple MacBook, depending on whether they want something more mobile or something with more computing capabilities.
YouTube pages get new look
One of the most popular sites on the Web – YouTube – is getting a new look.
The video-sharing site owned by Google Inc. is trying to de-clutter its video playback page in an effort to drive people to watch more of its massive archive, which includes material as varied as the latest Lady Gaga music video and a report on narcoleptic dogs.
Changes being unveiled this week include reducing the number of links that pepper playback pages, and moving the name of the video’s submitter to just below the video’s title. There will also be a collapsible link to the submitter’s other YouTube videos and a button that lets viewers subscribe to these clips, making it easier to see what else that submitter has shared without bombarding viewers with links.
The site is also replacing its five-star video-rating system with a simpler option to like or dislike a video.