What’s a Cius? That’s a question that Cisco probably wants to hear more often. The company’s only tablet has been overshadowed by more mainstream offerings, due in no small part to the fact that it’s only available through business channels. That said, Cnet reports that they’re seeing the adoption that they wanted, and they’ll be expanding the 7-inch Cius line with mobile broadband options.
AT&T HSPA+ will be first on the schedule, followed by a Verizon LTE version. Unfortunately Cisco didn’t mention a time frame for either of the new Cius tablets. The current off-contract HSPA+ version of the Cius costs $800, but given Cisco’s deep relationships with your friendly neighborhood megacorp, IT managers will probably be able to buy them in bulk for a significant discount. And that’s definetely the target market here: the Cius includes some extremely effective remote security and wipe options. Even the third-party Android app store, AppHQ, is vetted for corporate use.
Can the Cius catch on for corporations? Who knows. Even though the hardware and software is targeted towards enterprise, there’s already a bevvy of Android and iOS tools that work with cheaper and more familiar hardware. Competition in the small “corporate tablet” market is increasing all the time, too: Blackberry is expanding its offerings beyond the PlayBook with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion. The market for a more button-down tablet is still evolving – we’ll see if Cisco can leverage its brand to carve out its own space.