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Chambers vs. Jobs, IPad vs. Cius, a battle brewing?

With the data overload at AT&T could the Cius be headed for Verizon or Sprint?

Today John Chambers at Cisco Live announced a new Cisco product called the Cius. This new tablet is a new collaboration tool suited for business users with a host of Cisco Unified Communications tools inside. Also the Cius will have availability for applications from the Android Market Place. Below are the specifications from the Cisco material,

Cisco Cius
  • 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, 3G/4G data and Bluetooth 3.0
  • HD video (720p) withCisco TelePresencesolution interoperability
  • Virtual desktop client
  • Android operating system,
  • Collaboration applications
  • 7" diagonal, high-resolution color screen
  • HD Soundstation
  • Detachable and serviceable 8-hour battery
  • Highly secure remote connections
  • HD audio

It seems the Cisco Cius is going to be mainly a product used within a Cisco UC environment. But what if Chambers has other ideas? What if this is his first move into the retail market? We could have a great battle between Cisco and Apple, Chambers and Jobs. That would be good to see.

[Note from Julie Bort, Cisco Subnet editor: Also see Erik Parker's review: Hands on with the Android tablet "Cius" that Cisco announced at Cisco Live]

Ok back to reality ...

Consumers don't have Cisco UC platforms sitting around, not everyone has a WebEx account but everyone wants Telepresence. The Cius talks about HD Telepresence, we really all need to step back a minute before we go and order these. Unless you are on a free WiFi it is not going to work. I wrote about the carriers and how they are capping data plans for 3G and 4G now. How does Cisco think it will get HD Telepresence over a carrier network without an unlimited data plan? The overage charges will be huge if you travel and are always on a 3G or 4G network. I would not even trust a carrier network for HD Telepresence with all of the congestion they have now.

Cisco has to be looking at Verizon or Sprint as AT&T is on overload with Apple.

Apple and Cisco both has the same problem with tablets, the carrier networks and data plans. Jobs did not get AT&T to give unlimited data on the new iPhone or iPad, who thinks Chambers will get that for a non-consumer device?

Also Cisco did not put the Cisco WAAS Mobile product on its new Cius and that is puzzling to me. Maybe it could have reduced some bandwidth and helped with data flow? But with the new version of software that just came out I am sure they did not feel all of the bugs are worked out yet (please see my next blog for my latests thoughts on Cisco WAAS). Since this new product has ties to the cloud and SaaS and Cisco just announced this new push with WAAS software, why would they not use the WAN acceleration? Like I said: puzzling.

But if I was a betting man I would say Jobs was well aware of the Cisco Cius and is working on a front and rear video camera for the iPad. This would also do video calls and more for the iPad. With a loyal customer base such a move would keep Apple out in front of Cisco. There are many companies who have engineers using the iPad for work, I don't see them switching. Also you need to really have Cisco Telepresence and UC for the Cius to even work.

So is it a big gamble for Cisco? Should they have just added some new software to the iPad if/when it moved to video calls? Is Chambers looking to compete with Jobs? Does he really think this will compete with Apple? I hope he is not that vain.

Is this just another product that is getting Cisco farther and farther away from its roots?  

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