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Cius & AppHQ Launch

Everyone is talking about Cisco’s latest Cius announcement today, the AppHQ and July 31st availability.

I won’t disagree that Cisco has a a ways to go yet with the Cius (I’ve been using one the last few weeks), but the reviewers are missing the point here.

First, price. Reviewers, stop freaking out about it. If the Cius is $750 list and Cisco’s standard discounts apply most customers will pay a very “tablet-competitive” price even though it’s not “a tablet”. For reference, Cisco’s 9971 video phone has a list price just under $1000 and many customers are more than willing to buy them. Now you can have everything the 9971 offers and more.

Second, Android & the power of apps. Enterprise-grade video phone + Android apps = unlimited potential. Read Dave Michels great article on re-inventing the desk phone on, The Cius has 80-90% of his wishlist and it’s definitely on the right track here. Beyond these features think about current Cisco developers like Singlewire and the possibilities with their InformaCast notification products. Or the ability for a contact center supervisor to walk around the building with a Cius getting real-time stats and re-skilling agents to meet traffic spikes with a swipe of their finger. This is the future of the enterprise desk phone.

Finally, all the tablet comparisons are fine, but the real value for enterprises is this: VDI & the Cius media dock. Enterprises can buy a Cius and they no longer have to buy that employee a computer. A Cius with the dock connected to a monitor, keyboard & mouse with a Citrix or VMware View virtual desktop to connect to is the power play here. Now even at list price that $750 doesn’t sound so bad.

The strength of the Cius isn’t that it’s a tablet, because as far as that’s concerned it’s mediocre at best as the recent reviews have shown. They’re right. It’s not an iDevice. It’s not slim, aluminum, dual-core. It doesn’t even run recent code (Android 2.2). But Cisco’s positioning this in a perfect mix of their collaboration & data center strengths with a dash of the “consumerization of IT” thrown in. I think the idea & theory is perfect, now Cisco just needs to deliver.