I’m on my way to New York to visit with Cisco and learn about the new Cius business tablet. The opportunity for Cisco here is huge as if it is able to sell large volumes of these devices, they can then more easily tie-in sales of their other products and services.
The Cius could be one of the most important Cisco launches since the company got into the IP communications space in the late nineties.
The downside risk is fairly obvious though and that is that software is cheaper than hardware and most anything the Cius can do, an iPad or other Android tablet can as well.
And then there is the consumer electronics angle – Cisco purchased Flip and shut it down a few years later because the company isn’t very good at competing in the consumer space where margins are razor-thin. Obviously the growth of smartphones helped kill the pocket-sized video camcorder market as well.
So for Cisco the obvious sales angle is to sell the Cius as an IP-phone which can do so much more. Avaya will obviously be doing the same with its A175 tablet. The challenge in the long-term will be convincing users that they want an Android tablet instead of an iPad. Which means both Avaya and Cisco need to be much better at doing consumer electronics – potentially partnering with a tablet maker like Samsung or HTC to one-up Apple.