In a surprise move, Cisco Systems Inc. has confirmed it will no longer invest in developing the Cius tablet device running Android.
The Cius tablet was not a mainstream device, such as Apple's iPad or Samsung's Galaxy Tab, but a purpose-built device that would be used for specific solutions involving its IP phones. It was introduce to much fanfare at the 2010 Cisco Live show in Las Vegas, but it did not sell well at all.
"Based on these market transitions, Cisco will no longer invest in the Cisco Cius tablet form factor, and no further enhancements will be made to the current Cius endpoint beyond what's available today," O.J. Winge, Cisco's senior vice-president and general manager of the collaboration endpoints technology group, said in a blog post.
He went on to say that this decision does not mean the Cius is entirely dead nor on life-support. Cisco will continue to offer Cius in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases. For example, Cisco demonstrated during the Cius launch a K-12 education solution where the Cius would be housed on an IP phone at the teacher's desk and be used to assign homework, projects and essays to student who would receive the information on the tablet of their choice. This solution would also bring in subject-matter experts into the classroom. The example the Cisco demo used was a submarine captain in the Caspian Sea explaining to students the workings of a sub.
Market analyst and Cisco watcher Jon Arnold of Jon Arnold and Associates was surprised at the move.
"They concede as it's impossible to compete with iPad. They are better off to focus on enabling a great video experience, which is not Apple's business. I am sure the channel has issues selling Cius, so now Cisco can just focus on supporting any type of video endpoint, not just their own," Arnold said.
Arnold compared this move to when Cisco stopped development of its Flip camera. "It's the same as Flip. Endpoints aren't a great business," he said. "Also, their telepresence growth has slowed because there's too much competition coming now from low-cost desktop video. So, they need to scale back and focus on where they can get growth now.
The bring-your-own-device trend, or BYOD, played a huge part in Cisco's decision to drop the Cius from its product portfolio. Winge said Cisco is facing a workplace that is no longer a physical place, but a blend of virtual and physical environments, where employees are bringing their preferences to work. BYOD is the new norm where collaboration has to happen beyond a walled garden, and any-to-any connectivity is a requirement, not a "nice-to-have."
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