Cisco Cius Tablet Overtaking Apple iPad?: Call Me Skeptical
Now I don’t pretend to be some big expert on Cisco Systems, but I do know a thing or two about consumer electronics and usability. That’s why I have some strong opinions about the Cisco Cius, a Google Android-based tablet that’s expected to ship in early 2011. Cius apparently has built-in video capabilities and is designed for businesses. But here’s why I think Apple’s iPad has already beaten Cius in the corporate market.
Here’s the big reason I don’t think Cius will take off: Price.
Cisco hasn’t publicly disclosed an estimated retail price, but this Wall Street Journal article says that it’ll be “less than $1000.” That’s pretty vague and pretty lofty. My prediction: It won’t be less than $500, and if the Cius phone docking station isn’t included, expect it to literally be $999 or more for a complete solution.
What’s more, you don’t just buy a Cius and go — you have to be inside Cisco’s ecosystem, which, in it of itself, isn’t cheap either. So while the Cius may be very friendly and very helpful and extremely easy to use, and have shiny fancy Cisco Cius GUI layered on top of it — it might not be what tends to be the most important: economical.
On the flip side, an iPad sits at $499 and doesn’t require a pre-existing infrastructure from Apple to get going. Just check out our iPad tags on MSPMentor and The VAR Guy to get a feel for the iPad’s early business momentum. It’s already nearly ubiquitous, with everyone jumping on writing work-ready apps and iOS flourishing. Even Cisco’s own WebEx runs beautifully on it.
And yes, I hear you back there, the guy anticipating Telepresence on the Cius. I have to concede, the iPad doesn’t have a built-in video camera. But rest assured, if Apple’s iPhone 4 FaceTime video chat takes off, you’ll see it in the next iteration of the iPad. Maybe that’s not until April 2011, but it’s coming. But if you’re looking for the portable do-all video chatting device for work on the go, the Android tablet market is starting to shape up already, and there’s plenty of video-chatting Android devices out there already (EVO 4G to name just one).
So here’s my bottom line: Cius? It’s a glorified Android but price could hold it back.