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For partners, the key will be whether Cius measures up to Cisco's description of it as an enterprise business tool.
"It's not about being cute, it seems to be about a practical solution to the market where someone needs to walk around and do things in a mobile environment," NWN's Phelps said.
"If I'm a partner who's selling Cisco's UC products, I want to get a few of these into the C-level offices," added Dulaney. "I think this is a seeding effort, not a high-volume, make-me-lots-of-money effort. Vertical market applications will be a focus."
Count Ticonderoga Securities among the observers seeing the collaboration potential and business use cases in Cius.
"The market was surprised by Cisco's tablet announcement, but given the developments in the enterprise, we believe Cisco is well positioned to capitalize on the trends in the workplace, such as collaboration and the rise of the mobile user," wrote Ticonderoga analyst Brian J. White in a research analysis for Barron's.
Cisco's Cius, White added, won't put pressure on Apple so much as it will other companies that might have tablets on the way.
"Given Cisco's longstanding relationship in the enterprise and growing collaboration tool box, we believe the company has a leg up on the competition in pursuing the business tablet market," White wrote.
Robert Betzel, president of Infinity Network Solutions, a Macon, Ga.-based solution provider, said he hasn't had a chance to take a deep look at the Cius yet but it's definitely something to keep tabs on.
"The real question is if it's a nice, neat video tablet or has other potential offerings that might have some legs for real uptake," Betzel said. "It's definitely something we'll look into. It's one of those items they appear to be putting through the channel so we'll take a look and see if it fits."
Either way, observers said, it's a risk Cisco can take.