Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

Summary: Many tech followers are already questioning whether or not the enterprise-grade Cisco Cius tablet has what it takes to be a success.

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Cisco Systems trotted out its Cius tablet again on Wednesday with a new application ecosystem dubbed AppHQ. But already, many tech followers are already questioning whether or not this enterprise-grade tablet has what it takes to be a success.

When one hears the terms business or enterprise when advertising a tablet, it's easy to think of tablets that fell by the wayside, such as the HP Slate and, even more so, the BlackBerry PlayBook.

It doesn't help Cisco that the Cius already looks like the PlayBook at first glance. They both feel about the same when being held in one's hand - a bit bulkier but still smaller than the shiny and sleek iPad 2 and even the Galaxy Tab (at least the 8.9- and 10-inch variants). Even HP's TouchPad (which is likely the tablet of the town this week), feels a bit fancier and more modern than the Cius.

The Cius does have a few advantages over the PlayBook and even the Slate. First, in comparison to RIM's tablet, the Cius has a native email app that supports IMAP, POP, Exchange and multiple email accounts (both personal and business-related) at one time.

Tom Puorro, senior director of product management in Cisco's Collaboration Solutions department, noted during Wednesday's media event/telecast that customers often ask "Do I have access to email or web browsing?" Puorro answered his own question by stating, "It's much more than that."

Well, actually is it? Given how much flack RIM took when releasing the PlayBook without a native email app, it's arguable that a manufacturer can't release a tablet without such software.

Although Cisco is obviously focused on its own software suite embedded within Android 2.2 on the Cius (more on that below), it's these little things like email support that most customers, whether they be the average consumer or an enterprise client, care about at the end of the day.

Touching back on some of the strengths of the Cius, Cisco is tapping into its existing successful projects such as WebEx and TelePresence as advertising points. The Cius also appears to work seamlessly with a telephone docking station and double as a virtual desktop. Cisco reps joked that one could leave their Windows-based PC far away "where it belongs" in Alaska and still reach it from anywhere else in the world.

Furthermore, Cisco has introduced AppHQ, a very unique new app platform that Cisco reps argue brings power back to the hands of IT managers. There are plenty of companies that are handing out and using iPads and other tablets for work purposes. But the qualms here are mainly security-related as IT administrators have far less control about what can be downloaded, installed, etc. to these machines, putting these tablets more at risk.

AppHQ can be configured by IT departments and made available to employees in three ways:

  • An open portal to the full Android Market
  • Basic Cisco AppHQ with a mixture of Android apps and Cisco-validated business applications
  • Privatized Cisco AppHQ with only IT-selected apps

IT managers can also wipe individual apps from an individual Cius unit remotely, or wipe the entire device clean. The latter can be used in a variety of situations, including theft/loss of the device or if the employee is leaving the company. For enterprises, this system could actually prove to be incredibly useful and fulfill a void that other tablets can't as most of the popular ones on the market today are simply consumer-grade and have no need for this set-up.

However, the price could make or break this device, depending on your perspective. There aren't any official numbers as of late, although the first shipments have already gone out to those ordered since March.

For the consumer, who again is not the target audience for this device by any means, roughly $750 for a Wi-Fi-tablet is ludicrous. That price drops per unit to approximately $650 to $750 depending on the volume of units in a particular order.

3G/4G-enabled editions of the Cius are expected to roll out with AT&T and Verizon later this year, but Cisco reps didn't reveal any hints as to pricing there.

For large enterprises and even smaller ones with a lot of cash to spend who could use more advanced teleconferencing and collaborative tools, then those prices could very easily be justified. People who already use Cisco products will probably actually love this device given how much of Cisco's software is integrated throughout the user interface, but there is also room for personal usage (if the IT department permits it).

Otherwise, it's hard to see the Cius being successful on a wide spectrum, but it doesn't even look like Cisco reps are aiming for that anyway.

Related:

Topics: Hardware, Cisco, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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19 comments
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  • RE: Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

    I think it's a really compelling platform because it's designed from the get-go as an enterprise tablet. I think Cisco has the right idea by not directly competing with the iPad.

    The price isn't really an issue when you think about what you're getting. If you think about it as a 500$ android tablet with 200$ cisco value added software, sure it's compelling. Where that extra 200$ comes from is the value added by Cisco's security software, VPN integration, and telephony integration.

    The big thing that I do want to note about this is the android NDK will not work right with this tablet out of the box as it has an x86 chip in it. And while most apps don't use native code, it could be an issue in some cases.
    snoop0x7b
    • RE: Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

      @snoop0x7b Well considered and well reasoned... I tend to agree, as long as Cisco really delivers their "brand" of solid services and telephony to the device. Imagine it being the handheld of choice for IT server folks, who can monitor and configure their networks while roaming the facility with this device.
      lelandhendrix@...
      • RE: Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

        Who can monitor and configure their networks while roaming the facility with this device. <a href="http://www.woodfieldhighschool.com/highschool/why-us.asp">Woodfield High School</a>
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      • RE: Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

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      • RE: Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

        I tend to agree, as long as Cisco really delivers their "brand" of solid services and telephony to the device. Imagine it being the handheld of choice for IT server folks. <a href="http://www.lambodarsahu.com/the-truth-about-life-experience-degrees-get-your-degree-now/">Universal Degrees</a>
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      • RE: Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

        @lelandhendrix@... I think it's a fail, because as other tablet makers have learned (either the smart way or the hard way), if you don't have a $499 tablet you can just about forget it! Claiming that the Cius is 'aimed at the enterprise" is going to be irrelevant in my opinion. Companies are going to look at that price and pretty much say 'no' without looking too hard at what they're (supposedly) getting for that 'extra' $250. <a href="http://www.profischnell.com">Uebersetzung Spanisch Deutsch</a> <a href="http://www.profi-fachuebersetzung.de">Uebersetzung Spanisch Deutsch</a> <a href="http://www.uebersetzung-deutsch-englisch.com">Uebersetzung Deutsch Englisch</a>
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  • RE: Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

    Does a ""pad conform to my needs or do I conform to its offerings?
    trm1945
    • RE: Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

      For enterprises, this system could actually prove to be incredibly useful and fulfill a void that other tablets can???t as most of the popular ones on the market today are simply consumer-grade and have no need for this set-up. <a href="http://www.adisonhighschool.com/">High School Diploma</a>
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  • CISCO Is Doing Little But Repeating A Bad Mistake.

    I think it's a fail, because as other tablet makers have learned (either the smart way or the hard way), if you don't have a $499 tablet you can just about forget it! Claiming that the Cius is 'aimed at the enterprise" is going to be irrelevant in my opinion. Companies are going to look at that price and pretty much say 'no' without looking too hard at what they're (supposedly) getting for that 'extra' $250.

    Although the iPad is more than anything marketed as an entertainment device, more and more companies are looking into ways they can use it within their business environments, and IT staff are sort of being forced to think outside the box with respect to security and other issues. Many are coming up with workable solutions. I just don't see a mid-stream turn to an untested device with a 50% higher price tag happening any time soon.

    DISCLAIMER: I am no big fan (or enemy) of either Apple or the iPad, and personally, I don't really like the iPad. I'm just stating what seems realistic TO ME. Of course, I could be wrong.
    The Mokoda
    • RE: Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

      @The Mokoda
      Then why aren't Enterprise customers buying sub-$100 8 port switches?

      Cius is not meant for the consumer, indeed the consumer doesn't have the infrastructure at home to support high definition videoconferencing, nor do they have the desire to. The enterprise customers, on the other hand, do, or TelePresence wouldn't be the moneymaker that it is.
      brichter
    • RE: Cisco Cius and AppHQ: Could this be the business tablet that works?

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      samwise1924
  • i wonder if Citrix could be installed on a Llano-based device and if it

    would be similarly acceptable (controllable) by the IT hegemony?

    intriguing!

    but the Cius, or any other, would only be acceptable if the cisco vpn client were installed.

    :)
    .
    wessonjoe
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