The Summer of Cius, Finally

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Cius, Cisco’s tablet, is that it hasn’t been released yet. After all, it has been around for a year and has generated a tremendous amount of interest. It just seems like it would be possible to walk into a store and buy one.

That will be possible at the end of the month, according to a number of sites, including TFTS, which also offers a likely price ($800-$1,000) and some of the device’s details. Until it is officially on sale, folks will need to wait through the last bit of hype and analysis.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that nobody has seen the Cius. At UC Strategies, Jon Arnold delivers what seems to be a cogent analysis. The broad view is that the Cius is very important to Cisco and Cisco, of course, is very important to the telecommunications and IT industries. Cisco is differentiating the Cius from other business-oriented tablets and the iPad, Arnold writes, by emphasizing the importance of video and the overt enfranchisement of IT departments:

Cius is an enabler for UC, which is great for end users, but it also gives IT a comfort level that their network is being used to its best advantage. With all of IT’s back-end concerns addressed, Cius gives end users the freedom to use UC – and collaboration – in a endless number of ways. During the demo, they also made the point that Cius is not about Web browsing or checking email – it’s about real time collaboration and connecting with other people in more meaningful ways.

Emphasizing video, by the way, makes perfect sense for Cisco. It is primarily a networking company and video is the most bandwidth-intensive form of data. ZDNet’s Eric Lai points to the Cius’ use of Intel chips instead of the ARM architecture and, as Arnold did, points to the close ties with IT departments:

[W]hile other vendors went big on marketing their tablets at the wider consumer market with unproven results so far, Cisco, like Avaya with its Flare tablet, appears set to stay in its comfort zone of targeting enterprise IT managers.

As a Cisco product, Cius starts from a strong position. At this point, however, the most important thing is that the wait is over and the product is actually hitting the market.

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