Walmart to take on Amazon Fire with trio of cheap Android tablets

The new devices, which include a $64 8-inch and $79 10.1-inch slate and a $99 10.1-inch model with detachable keyboard, go on sale this week under the company's Onn electronics brand.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

Walmart Onn Android tablet

We've known for a couple of months that Walmart was preparing to inject some life into the moribund tablet market by releasing its own branded tablets, but a trio of the devices with the Onn house brand are finally arriving this week, according to Bloomberg.

While Bloomberg surmises that Walmart is looking to chip away at the market share of Apple's iPad, its pricing strategy suggests that it has another corporate giant in mind. With each new tablet priced under $100, Amazon's budget Fire tablets seem like a more likely target for Walmart's new devices.

The lineup comprises three models: an 8-inch slate for $64, a 10.1-inch version for $79, and a second 10.1-inch device that comes with a detachable keyboard. In comparison, the 8-inch Amazon Fire HD runs $79.99 and the 10.1-inch Fire HD is $149.99. Amazon doesn't offer a Fire tablet that includes a detachable keyboard, but it offers the recently upgraded $49.99 7-inch Fire that Walmart hasn't matched with its initial tablet offerings.

The specs of the 8-inch Onn tablet, which is already listed on the Walmart website, indicate that it's not really a challenge to the iPad mini save for the much lower price tag. Whereas the 8-inch iPad sports Apple's own processor, a Retina display, and 64GB of built-in storage, the Onn features a quad-core processor from an unnamed chip maker, 16 gigs of storage, and screen resolution of 1,280x800 pixels. Given their similarly low price tags, the 10.1-inch Onn tablets are not surprisingly equipped equivalently.

Although Apple continued to grow its share of the tablet market in the first quarter of 2019, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics, Amazon's year-over-year shipment percentage was even higher, suggesting that its aggressive pricing strategy has yielded dividends even as the overall market has sagged. Is Walmart too late to make its own entry into the budget tablet realm, or can it still take a bite out of Amazon's share (and maybe a little nibble out of Apple's as well)?

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