Cisco CIUS tablet to be sold by AT&T

While there's still no word on the tablet's price, AT&T announced it would be offering the Android tablet to business customers in the fall.

AT&T today announced that it will be offering the Cisco Cius Android tablet to its business customers. Cisco expects the Cius to be available for AT&T’s HSPA+ network in the fall of 2011. A few days ago, Tech Data announced that it would have the tablet available to selected retailers on May 31.

The device can be used with an IP phone-like docking station. But all parties involved are still being coy about the price. Reports that circulated last winter said the device will be priced under $1,000 ... or perhaps even closer to iPad-like prices.

Apparently, the months between when Tech Data delivers and when AT&T delivers will be spent encouraging application developers to write apps for the device, which is a tablet optomized for videoconferencing. From the press release issued by AT&T today:

"Through AT&T Foundry innovation centers, AT&T and Cisco are jointly collaborating with 3rd party developers to create innovative and intuitive business applications for the Cisco Cius. The developers' program provides invited developers with a unique  opportunity to bring new mobile business applications to market.  The program aims to accelerate the velocity of apps development to enhance the experience of AT&T Cius customers. The AT&T Foundry initiative facilitates innovation through a diverse, collaborative community supported by a network of strategic technology companies. ... Additionally, access to business applications on the Cisco Cius can be open or controlled, depending on the business organization's preference. "

Cisco maintains that the Cius isn't a consumer gadget. We take that to mean that it will carry a high-end price tag, but it could also mean that it won't be sold in onesy-twosey orders except through resellers that service the SMB market. Although AT&T will carry it, it is also unclear if consumers will be able to buy it from AT&T like they can buy other tablets. AT&T's press release hints that it will be sold through its systems integrator unit, AT&T Business Solutions.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Cius. As an Android device, it represents one of the several ways that Cisco has begun to embrace and engage in open source technologies.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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