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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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  • 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?

  • 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.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @06:43PM (#32738656) Journal
    Really, I was just thinking the opposite: it seems they've done a nice job choosing a different market segment to differentiate them, so they are not competing directly against the iPad. This is essentially what Apple did with the iPhone, they didn't go after business users like Blackberry was doing at the time.

    Furthermore, they've already made a fairly large entrance into the teleconferencing market, so this is really just an extension of what they are already doing. If anyone could pull this off, I'd say it would be Cisco. At this point I'd give them an edge over Apple (in this market segment), but that could change if the device is released and it turns out to be a kludge.
  • 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.

  • Mod parent up (Score:3, Interesting)

    About the only useful comment in the thread so far.
  • 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 Eskarel (565631) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:08PM (#32739670)

    You're probably right, though perhaps not for the reasons you think.

    The iPad is a horrible productivity tool, moving files between applications requires iTunes and jumping through a few dozen hoops, its bluetooth is crippled, iWork sucks, and the prohibitions on running interpreted code(at least without express Apple permission), cuts into a lot of the areas where productivity tools can be particularly useful. Last I checked the iTunes ToS expressly prohibits business use of apps anyway. There is a market for this thing if it performs even remotely well as a productivity tool.

    The fundamental obstacle for a device like this is the way that businesses purchase company equipment. For the most part, your average employee is, if they're lucky, going to have to choose between this and a laptop, they won't get budget for both, and, while both could have a use, this thing would be easier to live without than a laptop. Executives on the other hand, can generally get whatever toys they want, but generally speaking only seem to want shiny toys. These folks will want an iPad because the iPad is cool, cool is what Apple sells and they're damned good at it(I think that both the iPad and the Macbook Air are pointless, but when I watch the ads for them even I hear the proverbial voice in the back of my head saying "oooooh shiny" and trying to turn off all rational thought.

    Just about the only way that this will sell is if people who do actual work pay for it themselves, which just isn't likely to happen unless it's at least close to the iPad's performance in all the non productivity ways(which it won't be).

  • Re:Bizarre (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pollardito (781263) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:19PM (#32739758)

    Meh ... they just bought an existing company.

    They did the same thing with Pure Digital Technologies [], 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 []

  • by snooo53 (663796) * on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @11:03PM (#32740374) Journal
    Apple's biggest problem is that Jobs is always pushing an agenda, and as a result crippling an amazing device. Does it really take that much space to include a SD card slot, a USB jack, or a webcam? (even my cell phone has all those). Is it really going to hurt the user experience to allow Flash or my own applications? The answer of course is no to all these.
  • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @01:32AM (#32741094)

    Maybe they'll even go ruggedized and have that niche to themselves.

    Have you even looked for ruggerdised laptops recently?

    I did some research for a couple of field engineers (Geo's) and they are all 12-14" tablet PC's with touchscreens. Also they are all around $5K so if Cisco entered this market with a ~1K device they'd clean up. Even the semi-ruggerdised ones are $1K more expensive then their non-ruggerdised counterparts but the Australian outback would kill a semi-ruggaerised device in a matter of days.

  • by gig (78408) on Wednesday June 30, 2010 @03:22AM (#32741640)

    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.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein