BYOD didn’t kill Cisco’s tablet; it was a doomed idea


Citing employee preferences and the growing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement, Cisco(s csco) is no longer investing in the Cius Android(s goog) tablet it announced in 2010. The company says it will instead focus on collaboration software and solutions as workers use a wide range of hardware and enterprises are rushing to support such devices. That’s a great idea from Cisco that’s about two years and one hardware project too late.

From a post on Cicso’s blog:

“Cisco has demonstrated a commitment to delivering innovative software like Cisco Jabber and Cisco WebEx across a wide spectrum of operating systems, tablets and Smart Phones. We’re seeing tremendous interest in these software offerings. Customers see the value in how these offerings enable employees to work on their terms in the Post-PC era, while still having access to collaboration experiences.

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. However, as we evaluate the market further, we will continue to offer Cius in a limited fashion to customers with specific needs or use cases.

Moving forward, we intend to double down on software offerings, like Jabber and WebEx, that provide the anytime, anywhere, and any device experiences. We will leverage key learnings and key collaboration experiences native to Cius in our other collaboration products.”

I recall when my colleague Stacey covered the initial Cius tablet news. She and I discussed the product at length and while it was interesting and newsy enough to report on, I remember pointing out numerous reasons the product had “fail” written all over it.

The main reasons were that mobile technology cycles were revving too fast for a company such as Cisco to keep up, it had little to no differentiation from any competing tablets and the specifications were just plain terrible. Initially the product was slated to run on Intel’s Atom CPU(s intc) and offered super VGA, or 800 x 600 resolution — for a video communications device! The 7-inch screen is now 1024 x 600 but an Atom Z615 chip powers Android 2.2.2, which is software that debuted two years ago.

Instead of focusing on hardware, I mentioned to Stacey, Cisco should stick with software services that enable collaboration. Lo and behold, as the Cius tablet dies a slow, painful death, Cisco is doing exactly that.



Oh, btw, I was going to comment on how this wasn’t the only stupid product Cisco continued to work on even as they supposedly cut back and focused, but I just realized they killed the Umi back in January. Another product that never should have made it past the concept stage…


Agree completely. It was a bad product even when it was announced. And the idea that it was doomed strictly by the BYOD trend is ridiculous. Even without that it would have died an ignominious death.

Odd of course that Cisco was executing on BYOD with its own Employees (killing off company paid phones, supporting iPhones on the corporate network etc) long before acknowledging this ‘trend’ as if they just noticed it now.

Seriously, Cisco doesn’t even give new employees phones anymore. They just hand them headsets and tell them to use softphones on their laptops. Did they think they were the only ones going through this?

Jonathan Cohen

Let’s hope they don’t have a patent that they’ll sit on for that nifty phone dock shown in the photo…I’d like to see something like that for Android/iOS tablets.

Zunair Seemab Zain

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Cisco is a funny company. They think they make great products and that is often an issue. Their edge routers have always been decent, but everything else they offer is what I would judge to be ‘adequate’. Never the best option on the market and never cutting-edge. Cisco’s strength is its sales force. They’re like rabid dogs foaming at the mouth. Give them something even ‘adequate’ and they will often make it a category leader.

The trouble with the Cius is that it wasn’t even ‘adequate’ and it was an internal product effort. Doomed to underachieve.

In my arrogant opinion, Cisco would have been wiser to acquire an up-and-coming MDM company overflowing with Android tablet, point them at the tablet market, and arm the sales force with something sellable, not something that is 2 years behind the market and twice as expensive as competitive options.

Benjamin Ortega

BYOD = Bring your own device. You would think someone at Cisco would have said, “aren’t we contradicting BYOD by trying to introduce a device for enterprise employees”. I would think that would have been asked at some point before today??


The funny thing is Cisco’s corporate hubris. They thought it would be a slam dunk to compete with the iPad. After all, the iPad is “easy” to copy right? Just slap Android onto it and “presto” you have the tablet clone. Ha ha, see you later Cisco.

Matt Eagar

Agree that the tablet itself was flawed. But I think their reason for creating it was valid and does not go away just because they have moved on to other things: the days of the desk phone appear numbered, at least in its current form. What seemed interesting about the Cius was that it was a radical new take on the office phone, a way to keep it relevant when other mobile telephony devices were really starting to take off. To me the question now is what will happen to their phone business. They aren’t going to make up the revenue by selling a handful of enterprise software services — I just don’t see the Jabber IM system as something that is going to generate billions a year for them.

Divergent Trend

They’re pushing Jabber and BYOD software solutions for the time being. They’re also demoing “backpack” style thin client terminals for existing desk phones.

All those Callmanager installations aren’t going to disappear overnight, they have time.

Though, they really do need something more compelling than Jabber for mobile.


And video. Don’t forget video — Cisco is placing a lot of bets on video-based collaboration.

Divergent Trend

When Cisco showed the Cius at Live 2 years ago it was pretty interesting. Had it been released around that time, in the form that was shown, it could have been something – not a world-beater, but something.

Instead, Cisco spent about a year and half futzing with the device before releasing a thick slow, heavy, ugly piece of crap running a terribly outdated “phone” version of Android.

You have to see one these things in person to understand just how bad it really is.

I don’t think Cisco has the sense to focus on software, they remain a confused company. Chambers made a big deal about refocusing and Quad (Enterprise Facebook, Youtube, etc.) at live last year, but how much have we heard about it since?


They should have called the tablet Katrina, so now after it has sunk, they could repeat the excuse of W, the favorite president of Cisco CEO John Chambers, and say “who could have foreseen it?”

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