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Things heat up even more between Apple and Cisco

According to reports, Cisco is busy working on a device that will compete directly with the Apple TV, previously known as the iTV. The device, currently without a name, was demonstrated behind closed curtains at a suite in the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. Cisco did not demo or talk about the device on the show floor at the Consumer Electronics Show during the week.

The device is able to serve and sync to content much in the same manner as Apple TV. Pictures, movies, music and other information were shown to be either streaming to the Cisco device or already stored on the device. Cisco representatives did mention that its set-top box will be able to pull content from Wi-Fi enabled mobile phones. No details were actually revealed about the device's technical specifications such as on board local storage capabilities. It was evident though that the device would be released as a Linksys branded product when it ships.

Apple and Cisco are at odds with each other this week already on the trademark name "iPhone," which is owned by Cisco. However, Apple used the name the for its new product launch anyway. Both companies have now entered a legal dispute which could be long and drawn out. However, according to a reputable trademark attorney, a judge may end up ruling that the term "iPhone" is too generic and may be used by any company.

Karen Sohl, director of worldwide communications for Cisco's Linksys division, hinted that when the device ships later this year, it will be able to play more than just movies off a computer or a laptop wirelessly. It may be able to play DVDs as well. It would not be too surprising if Cisco adds Blu-ray or HD-DVD playback capabilities.

One area where the Apple TV is lacking is in resolution support, which is currently limited to 720p. It will be interesting to see if Cisco's upcoming set-top box can bring forward 1080p resolutions. When released, the device will be part of Cisco's Connected Home initiative.





"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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