At What Price Does the Cisco Cius Become a Real Tablet Contender?

At What Price Does the Cisco Cius Become a Real Tablet Contender?

Summary: Cisco has been cagey about what price its Cius will cost when it is released next month. What do you think it should be?


Give credit where credit's due: as it prepares to finally launch the Cius next month, I think Cisco has done a pretty good job so far of avoiding the pitfalls encountered by other tablet makers in their attempt to unseat the iPad, zagging where others zigged.

While every major tablet so far has stuck with the battery-sipping, tried-and-tested ARM architecture, the Android-based Cius will be the first to use an Intel chip, reportedly a dual-core Atom 'Moorestown' chip.

That will make it initially harder to get drawn into a cost-of-components or speeds-and-feeds comparison with other Android tablets like the Xoom or the Galaxy Tab, though not impossible.

Moreover, while other vendors went big on marketing their tablets at the wider consumer market with unproven results so far, Cisco, like Avaya with its Flare tablet, appears set to stay in its comfort zone of targeting enteprise IT managers.

Check out the marketing page for the Cius, which talks up the tablet's integration with Cisco networking gear and phones. Worthy stuff that will get your network administrator hot and bothered (example: "Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX) powered wireless communications device, optimized to work with a Cisco Wireless LAN infrastructure") but will cure the insomnia of the average iPad purchaser.

Cisco also says the Cius is "unlikely" to ever hit retail shelves. All in all, the vendor is unabashedly abashed, tamping down expectations around the Cius in order to avoid the iPad express.

Probably the cleverest thing Cisco has done in this regard is remain cagey about Cius' final price tag.

No doubt it has taken lessons from rival Avaya, which will reportedly charge $2,500 for the Flare hardware, which it calls a "desktop video device", and $1,500 for the software.

No Jitter called that "a truly...well...not-smart price... it's only $1,000-$1,200 too expensive." I can't help but agree.

With its original ~$1,000 price panned by the market, a Cisco executive threw out a $700 price for the Cius in May to test the market's reaction.

While $700 wasn't widely criticized the way the Motorola Xoom's $599 was, I see it as less a vote of confidence in the Cius and more of a lack of mindshare for the Cius today.

Is the Cius' better videoconferencing worth several hundred dollars - or more- in price over the iPad and other tablets?

I think that Cisco could cut the the entry-level price of the Cius to the iPad's $500 and make it up either on requirements like maintenance contracts or tasty options like secure enterprise video. That would make the Cius appear like better value to workers/business execs, who, even if they don't buy/choose the tablets themselves, have increasing say in enterprises over what gear they are issued.

Meanwhile, the true TCO is hidden to all but the IT managers/CIOs who really need to know.

What do you think the Cisco Cius should cost, and why?

Topics: ÜberTech, CXO, Cisco, Hardware, iPad, Laptops, Mobility, Samsung, Tablets

Eric Lai

About Eric Lai

I have tracked technology for more than 15 years, as an award-winning journalist and now as in-house thought leader on the mobile enterprise for SAP. Follow me here at ÜberMobile as well as my even less-filtered musings on Twitter @ericylai

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  • Do you look where you should look

    I think the article completely misses the point....Business tablets (as well as retail ones) are not about tablets and hardware and specs...it is about different user experience...apps..capability to have it with you all the time...and What new did Cisco bring with it? Ported what they had already? Then it's only hardware...and no one pays $500+ to have same thing they had in new wrapping...I wouldn't advetize Avaya's solution, but that one at least shows smth. new...and it's not about HW (I admit too expensive), it is about experience...and Avaya's tablet is just transition to other devices including windows, iPads, mobiles...
    • RE: At What Price Does the Cisco Cius Become a Real Tablet Contender?

      @Neosobo I agree that Cisco, like Avaya, do bring something new with their tablets - the enterprise unified comms/video experience. However, I'm a big skeptic of the demand for videoconferencing - see my rant against FaceTime here: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/sybase/comic-novelist-explains-why-iphone-4s-facetime-app-is-for-lovers-and-meetings-only/157
      IDC analyst Nicolas McQuire apparently agrees that Cius' price is key: http://twitter.com/nickmcquire/statuses/84687661536780288
  • RE: At What Price Does the Cisco Cius Become a Real Tablet Contender?

    The only way any competitor has a chance is to bring out a decent product and have an entry price of $300 - $350 ..otherwise why take a chance ...
  • RE: At What Price Does the Cisco Cius Become a Real Tablet Contender?

    The point being missed is that the Cius is designed as a tablet for business and as an extension of the enterprise network. From enterprise management to security, no matter what 3rd party apps and add-ons are offered up as afterthoughts to attempt to line up the iPad (Playbook, Touch, etc) with enterprise, the Cius is the clear answer FOR BUSINESS and serves a completely different purpose than the iPad or anything else out there.

    David Watts
    NYC Area IT Mgmt
  • RE: At What Price Does the Cisco Cius Become a Real Tablet Contender?

    The only way any competitor has a chance is to bring out a decent product and have an entry price of $300 - $350 ..otherwise why take a chance ... <a href="http://www.musthighschool.com/">high school</a> | <a href="http://www.musthighschool.com/must/diploma/">online high school diploma</a> | <a href="http://www.musthighschool.com/must/diploma/">high school diploma online </a>
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  • RE: At What Price Does the Cisco Cius Become a Real Tablet Contender?

    Avaya is not only targeting business but higher education as well. You can find out more details about the Avaya Flare at http://avayadatanetwork.com/avaya-flare-demo.html
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