When Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers and other executives take the stage at this week's Cisco Partner Summit, The VAR Guy wonders: Will Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) executives be armed with Cius tablets? The answer to that question could reveal how Cisco is feeling about its purpose-built tablets, which run Google Android and leverage the Cisco AppHQ app store.

Cisco Cius tablets don't seek to compete in the consumer tablet market. Rather, the devices are designed for corporate executives who leverage unified communications and video applications. Cisco Partner Summit 2012 (April 16-19, San Diego), could provide a prime stage to update partners on the Cius.

Cisco Cius Tablets: The Story So Far

Cisco announce the Cius tablets in June 2010. Nearly two years later...
  • The VAR Guy can't recall a single time when Cisco CEO John Chambers has been photographed using the Cius tablet on his own.
  • Cisco's most recent 10-Q filing, dated Feb. 21, does not mention the Cius or tablet industry.
  • And ironically, Cisco's employee base ranks among the 10 largest Apple iPad deployments in the world, according to ZDnet's Eric Lai.
So is Cisco committed to the Cius? Hmmm... The most recent Cisco Jabber release -- alternative to Microsoft Skype -- continues to support Jabber. Plus, Cisco earlier this year gave Cius tablets to channel partners that attended one of the company's conferences. And several of those partners are now testing rollouts to customers, The VAR Guy has heard.

But perhaps the real answer to Cius's potential popularity involves the Cisco AppHQ app store. The store features several corporate-minded capabilities that could appeal to partners and customers.

For instance,the AppHQ includes license management, user and group management, life cycle management, and other capabilities that allow partners and customers to acquire, manage and safeguard employees' Cius apps.

Still, Cisco hasn't said much about partner-led Cius tablet deployments. Perhaps that will change at this week's Cisco Partner Summit.