Cisco Joins the Tablet Crowd

2:00 PM -- Why would Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) want to release its own tablet? To get the word "telepresence" into more press releases, of course.

I haven't seen the Cius yet (I'm guessing it's pronounced "see-us.") and haven't had time to delve into the release. It was introduced this morning in Las Vegas at Cisco Live!, the company's annual customer confab where clients are treated to long Cisco presentations and some pretty groovy parties. Devo played last year. (See Cisco Intros Business Tablet.)

Cius is like an iPad in concept, but it's slightly lighter, at 1.15 pounds versus the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) device's listed weight of 1.5 pounds. And it comes with a docking station so you can do this:

Yes, it's your own desktop telepresence that could actually be considered cooler than full-sized telepresence. Of course, the device's mobility also means you could do telepresence while jogging or hang-gliding, inducing motion sickness in all the other meeting participants. Come to think of it, that might be a useful feature.

Customer trials could start any day now (pet peeve: they say "third quarter," but the third quarter is two days away), with general availability slated for 2011. One thing I'd be curious about is whether this will be just a retail device, or something offered via mobile operators.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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