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Cisco To Challenge iPad With Cius 'Business Tablet' 217

Posted by kdawson
from the first-into-the-ring dept.
GMGruman and several other readers noted Cisco's announcement of the forthcoming 7-inch Android-based iPad challenger, the Cius, which "... will offer multiple networking capabilities, keyboard and mouse support, and the ability to do videoconferencing. Cisco says it will cost less than $1,000, or about the same as an iPad. The Cius will come with a front-facing high-definition video camera that can record 720p video at 30 frames per second and a 5-megapixel camera at the back that can capture high-quality video and still images. Users will be able to engage in live video calls [most likely via WebEx] when the tablet is docked or being held. Some units will be available this fall, though general availability is not expected until early 2011."
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Cisco To Challenge iPad With Cius 'Business Tablet'

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  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @06:15PM (#32738372)

    "Under $1k' (read $999) is what everyone thought the iPad would sell for.

    But actually it's half that much, $500 for the base model (which I have and is fine).

    It is interesting though they seem to be aiming this at video conferencing users, it could be a lot easier to set up and use than existing solutions.

    Until the iPad 2 with Facetime comes out that is... 2011 seems like Cisco is cutting it close.

    • by BagOBones (574735) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @06:24PM (#32738464)

      Under 1K ? Does Cisco sell anything other than parts that cheap? I mean other than the linksys line of products..

      Looking at Cisco / Tandberg enterprise gear I would expect a device like this to cost 2K, after you licence all the functions on the device to make a call, and purchase some form of new CAL for your network gear to allow it to connect.

      • by plover (150551) *

        They will soon find out that their price point will have to be below that of an ipad, or they'll sell zero of them.

        • by silentsteel (1116795) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:17PM (#32739298)
          Actually, my company has been demo'ing the IPad for about a month now, and we can not find anything useful for businesses to justify the expenditure. If this Cisco tablet offers more in the way of benefit for our core business, I am quite sure they will be purchased, even if the cost is ~1,000.00.
          • by peragrin (659227)

            And that is the problem. Businesses hate changing software, but for a tablet you have to change software or have a custom UI set up. Existing business tablets are what? notebooks with swivel screens. why? because business software is horrible for UI design and anything beyond a keyboard and mouse is too much for them.

            no apple did the tablet right. They said fsck businesses we go after the home owner, sitting on their couch. it is easier to get them to buy new software than businesses which will go fo

          • If the iPad gets the same cameras the iPhone4 just got, plus FaceTime, it would be as good as this tablet at a minimum. Add in the AppStore (or the SDK), and you're golden.

            • If the iPad gets the same cameras the iPhone4 just got, plus FaceTime, it would be as good as this tablet at a minimum.

              Not quite; FaceTime is not HD and doesn't integrate with CallManager and all the other Cisco stuff that the enterprise has already bought.

          • by mjwx (966435)

            Actually, my company has been demo'ing the IPad for about a month now, and we can not find anything useful for businesses to justify the expenditure.

            Has you been able to make a business case to buy Ipod Touches? If not then why did you think there would be a business case for something larger and more expensive?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by gig (78408)

            Where I'm working, I-T does not know what to do with iPads but the users are showing them by bringing them in from home, logging in to Exchange, and then refusing to use their XP boxes anymore.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by tehcyder (746570)

              Where I'm working, I-T does not know what to do with iPads but the users are showing them by bringing them in from home, logging in to Exchange, and then refusing to use their XP boxes anymore

              So all people use their computers for at work is email?

    • by demonbug (309515)

      How many people actually hold individual video conferences? All the ones I've been involved in there have been numerous attendees at each location, so it really wouldn't be feasible for each person to be using their own device - usually it involves a projector and a (relatively) high-quality camera set up in a conference room.

      I suppose it would be kind of fun/cool for video chatting, but don't really see much business use for it.

      • I was thinking the camera on the device might be wide enough to accommodate three-four people... that seems like a pretty typical number for most video conferencing, and the fact that the camera is 720p speaks to it probably being able to include a number of people instead of just one.

        Although come to think of it, any video conferencing we actually did was more on the order of 20 people with equipment as you described... perhaps Cisco is just trying to make it practical for smaller meetings to also

      • by Unoti (731964)
        Could be a chicken and egg problem here: only people with convenient cameras are going to turn them on during a business videoconference. A few years ago, I felt the same way about skype and voip: people would use telephones because they had those on their desks and didn't use Skype or other voice systems because they didn't have computer headsets. Today, in my world at least, it's radically different. Perhaps tomorrow will be different for video conferencing for the same reasons.
  • by Protonk (599901)
    Like the comment above says, "under 1000" is corporate speak for ~999. If the iPad sold for 999 dollars, you wouldn't see 3 million sent out the door in three months. As for the other features. Great. I hope they succeed. I hope they manage to make a tablet which can compete against the April 2010 release of the iPad by early-2011. Of course, by then they will be competing with the next refresh of the iPad.

    Even then, the touch tablet ecosystem needs some competition so that consumers on the margins
  • Bizarre (Score:5, Interesting)

    by somenickname (1270442) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @06:26PM (#32738482)

    This is completely bizarre. Cisco doesn't have a history of making consumer grade products. And they decide to dive in with an Android tablet? WTF?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Cisco doesn't have a history of making consumer grade products.

      Linksys.

      • Re:Bizarre (Score:4, Informative)

        by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @06:39PM (#32738612) Journal
        Meh ... they just bought an existing company.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Pollardito (781263)

          Meh ... they just bought an existing company.

          They did the same thing with Pure Digital Technologies [wikipedia.org], the makers of the Flip Video cameras. Yes, they bought them after they were popular, but it is a sign that they are interested in selling consumer products. Their CEO said as much in a recent interview with Newsweek [newsweek.com]

      • Sure, but, Linksys doesn't make openly Cisco products. Yes, all tech people recognize that Linksys is Cisco but, the name Cisco usually means expense and quality in the IT world. I again assert that this is bizarre. How do you go from making $5000 routers to making Android tablets?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by IANAAC (692242)

          Yes, all tech people recognize that Linksys is Cisco but, the name Cisco usually means expense and quality in the IT world.

          All those cheap Linksys routers, network devices and webcams now carry the Cisco brand name. They no longer say "Linksys" on them.

          Sure, they had to buy a company to get into the home networking market, but they're there now.

        • Sure, but, Linksys doesn't make openly Cisco products. Yes, all tech people recognize that Linksys is Cisco but, the name Cisco usually means expense and quality in the IT world. I again assert that this is bizarre. How do you go from making $5000 routers to making Android tablets?

          All the ones I've gotten lately have been heavily branded Cisco (along with the Linksys name)...

      • by gig (78408)

        Linksys is not consumer grade. It's like a trap that people fall into and need a nerd to get them out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They've been trying to buy their way in to the consumer area, for some reason, first with the Linksys acquisition, more recently the guys who make those "flip" low-end camcorders, as well as the gotomyPC people.

      I'm not sure if this is all part of a grand plan, or just the sign of a company that needs to invest in something; but hasn't done anything more creative than slap firmware locks and gigantic price tags on OEM hardware in years...
    • This tablet is meant to replace IP phones, videoconferencing gear, and thin clients in businesses.

    • by scheme (19778)

      This is completely bizarre. Cisco doesn't have a history of making consumer grade products. And they decide to dive in with an Android tablet? WTF?

      They make quite a lot of ip phones. You plug the phone into an ethernet jack, it connects to and gets its configuration information from a central server and works like a phone connected to a pbx system. Their phones even get power over ethernet so one cable is all you need. There's some other nice features as well.

    • by jon3k (691256)
      It's not a consumer device. It says "Business" probably 5 times in the demo video on cisco.com homepage right now. So unless your grandma has telepresence then I wouldn't consider this a consumer device at all.
  • by pushing-robot (1037830) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @06:26PM (#32738486)

    They could probably duplicate the hardware, but I doubt Cisco could make anything like iOS.

  • by cstdenis (1118589) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @06:29PM (#32738506)

    Why would Cisco use Android? If they seriously want to compete with the iPad, they need to make it run ios.

  • by i_ate_god (899684) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @06:30PM (#32738514) Homepage

    It's targeted to business users. Apple doesn't really enter into that market. So I could see this being a success.

    • Apple's entries into the business PC market are extremely limited(outside of a few specific fields), and would really require a serious culture shift on their part to go any further. (Oh, sure, like Steve is going to support old versions and functions he considers inaesthetic just because deprecating them would break your precious business-critical application... Oh, and you want a second source for hardware? Ha, ha, ha. Gentlemen).

      However, this isn't a PC, this thing is being marketed as a Video-confere
      • Apple's entries into the business PC market are extremely limited

        Another example - Let's say you want to put some kind of forms-based data collection application onto an iMaxiPad... How do you get the thing on there? There's been some vague talk of "enterprises" being allowed to put their own apps on an iPad, but it's all very nebulous...

        • by gig (78408)

          You can deploy any native app you want to your own machines, even wirelessly now. You just can't deploy to machines you don't control. Apple's Xcode tools have been used to make enterprise apps for 20 years now, including NSA, DOD, and WWW.

          But if you're collecting data with forms, you can also do HTML5, where the app installs to the device from any URL.

        • by jo_ham (604554)

          What do you mean "nebulous"?

          http://developer.apple.com/programs/iphone/enterprise/ [apple.com]

          Nothing "nebulous" about it.

          Test on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
          See how your development application will perform in a real-world environment by installing and testing it directly on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @06:39PM (#32738614) Journal
    Unless Citrix has some real aces up their sleeve, this one is exactly as dead in the water as Apple feels like making it, outside of a few big corporations where just repeating "Cisco, cisco, cisco" in a soothing voice makes management's eye's glaze over and fills them with an irresistable urge to sign purchase orders.

    The iPad is a relatively mass-market consumer product, based on a weedy little ARM core(very closely shared with another mass-market consumer product they produce). No way will Cisco be beating them on price, unless they are willing to get hammered on margins. Further, it is a general-purpose computer, crippled only as much as Apple wants it to be(for instance, this Cisco thing supports a mouse and keyboard for doing remote desktop/virtual terminal stuff. If Apple felt threatened, they could have deals inked with Citrix and VMware for their thin-client computing protocols, plus RDP and X11 and maybe NX, all rolled up into an app inside a month(App slogan: "Tenfootpole: for when you need to work on a PC; but can't bear to touch one...). I'm guessing that support for bluetooth mice could be added to the present support for bluetooth keyboards in even less time, and made available privately to that app, so as not to slum up the "touch experience". If they were really feeling motivated, they could kick out a full desktop dock accessory(the camera connect kit shows that there is USB host support in there, so it would take about ten minutes to design a dock with a power brick and USB hub, that holds it at the right angle and lets you plug in your mouse, keyboard, and flash drive full of boring work.

    Now, there is no evidence that Apple is thus motivated. If they don't find the corporate market interesting or sufficiently profitable, they just won't bother. Even so, announcing that you plan to release a product when your competitor already has a product that is one software update away from being cheaper and better than that product, seems like a rather dubious move. I certainly wouldn't want to be in Cisco's shoes here.
    • that is one software update away

      I would like to see the software update that gives ipads front/back-facing video cameras...

      • I would like to see the software update that gives ipads front/back-facing video cameras...

        But it would be a magical update. And we all know magic can do aanything.. Like the one that was going to fix the antenna problem.. but because so many people complained. Steve is holding it back to teach the heretics a lesson.. He may never release it because we dared to question his great indefatigable wisdom... I'm sure it works perfectly for the truly faithful.. And when you have unicorns instead of icky old core functionality, there are no limits.

  • You know when the Man pulls this out he is saying he has very important video conferencing to do.

  • Cius Baltar?

    Or Toyota Cius?

  • User Access Verification

    Password:

    sparky>enable
    Password:
    sparky# config term
    sparky(config)# interface Gi0/44
    sparky(config-if)#

    Oh the fun I'd have with my Cisco tablet :)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gujo-odori (473191)

      Which one? Cisco IOS or Apple's iOS? Wait until a year or two from now and you're googling to solve a problem you're having with a switch or router and all you can find is info about iOS. Fun and Hilarity ensue :p

  • by Stone316 (629009) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @07:07PM (#32738860) Journal

    Lenovo's new Ideapad which will be out later this year:

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/05/lenovo-ideapad-u1-hybrid-hands-on-and-impressions/ [engadget.com]

    It was supposed to come out about now but they decided to replace the snapdragon OS with Android. I showed this to my manager, the IT staff and we all can't wait for it. Especially now that Android will be on it.

    The price is supposed to be around 1K as well.

    • I thought the U1 was scrapped [notebooks.com]. Yes they said they were moving forward with Android but I didn't see anything anywhere about that form factor being resurrected.

      One big part of why the U1 had that form factor, was that it was really a Windows system and a Linux system - which I personally thought would have made for a pretty awful transition when you detached (nothing against Linux, it's just that the systems were too different to switch to on the fly). Moving to Android means they would not have to go thro

  • Their terrible name is already worse than Apple's terrible name, so I'd say it's getting to be competitive even at this early stage.
  • by jht (5006) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @07:29PM (#32738992) Homepage Journal

    If any of these companies learned anything at all from Apple, they wouldn't be announcing tablets to ship next year. They'd be announcing finished products that will be out this month. You can't build a product and aim at a moving target.

    HP Slate with Windows 7? Dead, and HP bought Palm to recover. Lenovo Ideapad? Announced at CES, still not out, supposedly a new OS is coming. Cisco Cius? Looks cool, not out until next year.

    iPad? Over 3 million of them shipped so far, they were in users' hands 10 weeks after they were announced, and by the time most of these competitors ship (if they do at all), Apple will have a second release of the shipping OS and may well have a second generation of the hardware out as well.

    The only thing Apple's preannounced several months ahead of time in recent years was the original iPhone. For a reason - that froze the smartphone market for almost six months until the first one shipped.

    Word to future iPad wannabes: Tell us about it when you're ready to ship. You're not going to freeze the market by announcing 6 months early. People aren't going to say "screw Apple, let's wait for the Cius to make tablets legitimate". You'll only look stupid when you don't ship the same product you announced 6 months ago.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ceoyoyo (59147)

      If any of these companies learned anything from Apple they wouldn't be announcing tablets to ship next year, they'd be announcing something new to ship this month.

    • by NetJunkie (56134)

      Cisco doesn't care because Cisco isn't competing directly with Apple here. This is a device that fits in with the rest of their VoIP/Video device offerings. I bet a lot of what it can do will also be available for the iPad, when v2 hits with a camera. So you can use the Cius and dock it with a Cisco VoIP phone or load an app on an iPad that you manage yourself.

    • by jon3k (691256)
      Actually I think the idea is to get businesses to reconsider implementing iPads. Why try and make a consumer device work in a business environment when you can just wait for Cisco's tablet?
  • by DWMorse (1816016) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @07:47PM (#32739104) Homepage

    What if they load this sucker up with a special USB-to-RS232 for consoling, and a bunch of Cisco-made apps for plugging into CiscoWorks and other utilities network monitoring, remote management, VPN, and have it support similar 3G data networking?

    If they toss one in with every order over $50k of network hardware, I think you'd be seeing these become standard Cisco enterprise management tools. All it has to do is interface with the other stuff Cisco sells, and it completely eliminates my need to haul a 15" laptop around for a console and network access.

  • There are already dozens and dozens of devices like this one, tablets running android based on ARM processors of various flavors, made by no-name Chinese manufacturers. Why buy from Cisco for $1000 something I can already get, right now, from various made-in-China web sites for a couple of hundred bucks?

  • by marciot (598356) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @07:57PM (#32739168)

    Cius> enable t
    Password:
    Cius# conf t
    Cius(configure)# addressbook
    Cius(configure-addressbook)# phone bob 222-4343
    ^Z
    Cius>dial bob
    ...

    Cius>no dial bob

  • by NetJunkie (56134) <jason.nash@gmQUOTEail.com minus punct> on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @07:58PM (#32739176)

    This is not an iPad killer. It's not meant to be one. I'm at Cisco Live right now and all the Cisco geeks are wetting themselves over it...but it's not even a competitor to the iPad. It's a niche product to work with Cisco's other technologies. Hospitals are going nuts over the iPad and Cisco wants a play in that market. They want these customers to buy the Cius just like they do Cisco wireless handsets now. Look at the promo pics, it's docked in a Cisco phone.

    Different markets.

  • Article has no mention of cellular carriers, which I expected since this news is breaking. I have to wonder if that $1,000 is a subsidized price....
  • On second thought, never mind.

  • If i want to deploy internal applications that aren't just a web interface to my CRM system, without jailbreaking the iPad can I load those on my iPad or do I have to go through the apple store? If I can have my own internal application repository maintained by my own IT staff, that would seem preferable than to load some app into apples store...

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