Walmart is developing its own tablet device to be manufactured by Chunghsin Technology Group, according to a filing with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
The documents detail that the tablet will use Google's Android 9 Pie device operating system. Additionally, the filing shows pictures of Walmart's ONN brand name on the back of the device and within the proposed user manual.
Walmart may have Apple's iPad tablet family in its sights with this launch. Though a more likely target may be Amazon, which offers Fire tablets and is already one of Walmart’s chief rivals in e-commerce.
Walmart also may be looking to undermine other tablets on the market on the basis of price, as its ONN private label typically focuses on low-cost consumer electronics products.
The timing of this news is interesting in light of a Business Insider report that Google is moving employees off of its laptop and tablet hardware development teams, potentially shifting its focus away from these gadgets. Also, the tablet market has been stuck in a rut the last few years, with shipments declining through the third quarter of 2018, according to IDC. However, even during that down period, Amazon has been strengthening market share.
It’s not clear what Walmart’s ultimate goal might be with its own tablet, including whether it would bundle apps or services with it. Amazon and Apple have established app and content ecosystems that drive usage of their tablets and other devices. If Walmart is serious about pursuing this market, it may need to build up its own ecosystem.