Walmart is making its own tablet in a move that would pit it against other tech giants and retailers such as Apple and Amazon.com. The world’s largest retailer plans to introduce an inexpensive, kid-friendly tablet computer under its ONN store brand, part of a broader redesign of its electronics department, according to a report on Bloomberg.com. Walmart’s ONN store brand mainly sells accessories like headphones, charging cables and television soundbars.The company has filed a wireless product application for a tablet design with the Federal Communications Commission. The device will be made by a Chinese supplier and run on Alphabet's Android operating system. A Walmart spokeswoman confirmed to Bloomberg that the product is indeed in the works, though declined to comment further. The price of the device, or when it will debut, also hasn't been disclosed.
Total Retail's Take: While Walmart and a private-label tablet may seem like strange bedfellows, this isn't the first time a retailer has entered the kid-friendly, low-cost, private-label table market. Amazon, for example, developed its own tablet brand, originally called the Kindle Fire, in 2011, which includes versions for kids. Two years later, Britain’s Tesco Plc introduced a popular tablet called the Hudl that was snatched up by U.K. parents, but the company discontinued the line in 2015 after a change in senior management. And, Walmart rival Target last year introduced its first consumer electronics store brand, called Heyday, with products including headphones and smartphone cases. The move to make these tablets falls in line with Walmart's recently announced plans to make electronics and home goods a focus this year, according to Bloomberg. However, some industry insiders question Walmart's move, as the tablet market has been declining for several years. In 2018, tablet shipments fell 6.2 percent, according to data tracker Strategy Analytics. On a positive note, perhaps the new tablet line will breath some life into the sluggish market. We'll see.