Cisco Grows its Cius Tablet Brand

by Jeff Wiener on December 1, 2011

What’s happened to the enterprise tablet market? The question came out of a conversation I had with a customer last week who was exploring the full gamut of telecommunications solutions on the market. I smiled because while the enterprise tablet market is alive and well, it seems like almost no one knows about it.

Take, for example, the Cisco Cius tablet. I would guess that few public or enterprise consumers are aware that Cisco has been developing an enterprise specific tablet for nearly two years and quietly released this past summer. The business-grade device, designed to compete with Avaya’s Flare Experience, is a strange sort of hybrid beast, lacking the aesthetic appeal of a consumer tablet while simultaneously running the consumer-centric Android OS.

The reason you likely haven’t heard of the Cisco Cius, however, is because it seems Cisco doesn’t want you to hear about it, having only made the device available through its standard business channels. But if you think a lack of awareness correlates to a weak enterprise market, we’ll you’d be wrong, as Cisco is already planning the launch of the next generation Cius tablets.

The strange thing about the enterprise tablet market is that it exists in a world of its own, almost completely separate from the popular consumer tablet segment that boasts the iPad and the myriad of powerful Android tablet competitors. The enterprise tablet market isn’t particularly concerned with eye-catching tablet designs or sleek and sophisticated consumer features, choosing instead to focus on business-grade security rich features and integration with one’s existing communications solutions.

Since the Cius can’t be found at the local Best Buy one might assume that it is likely not doing well in the tablet market. While Cisco its mum about the actual sales numbers, the company has gone on record stating that, “The adoption has met our expectations…It has done well in terms of reception from the enterprise community.”

In fact it looks like the Cius is doing so well in the enterprise tablet market that Cisco has announced it is working on not one, but two follow-up tablets to the Cius, proof enough that the tablet market is booming…or that Cisco lacks business sense. The next generation of Cisco tablets will see the two tablets, one larger than the current Cius and one smaller, available mid-2012.

While I jokingly mentioned Cisco’s business sense, there is some truth to my good natured jibe as perhaps the enterprise tablet market really isn’t as successful as Cisco would make it seem.

The longstanding issue with the enterprise device market—be it smartphone or tablet—is that when compared to the devices enterprise users want to use, tablets like the Cius simply don’t stack up. As RIM has experienced of late, people want a device that can be used for both the personal and professional, and although Cius runs Android, it’s an antiquated version that will appeal to few for use outside the enterprise sector.

For its part, Cisco has launched an awareness campaign for the Cius in order to clarify the purpose of the device, hoping to generate more of a buzz and convince prospective buyers why they should pay a staggering $725 when comparably priced consumer tablets are able to do so much more while comparably equipped enterprise tablets (like RIM’s Playbook) are priced hundreds of dollars less.

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Written by: Jeff Wiener. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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