(Bloomberg)—Look out Apple: Walmart Inc. is moving into iPad territory.
The world’s largest retailer, No. 3 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, plans to introduce an inexpensive, kid-friendly tablet computer under its ONN store brand, part of a broader redesign of its electronics department. The device will be made by a Chinese supplier and run on Google’s Android operating system, according to photos found on a database of wireless product applications filed with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
Tara House, a Walmart spokeswoman, confirmed the product is in the works, though declined to comment further. The price of the device, or when it will debut, hasn’t been disclosed.
Walmart’s device could bring some life to the sluggish tablet market, which has been declining for several years. Tablet users don’t buy new ones at the same pace as they replace smartphones, which have also grown in size and capacity, reducing the need for a larger device. In 2018 tablet shipments fell 6.2%, according to data tracker Strategy Analytics. Apple Inc.’s (No. 2) iPad brand is the top seller, followed by lines from Samsung Electronics Co. and Amazon.com Inc. (No. 1).
After spending last year overhauling its apparel offering, Walmart will make electronics and home goods a focus this year, according to presentations given by senior management at a recent meeting of the company’s suppliers. Rival Target Corp. (No. 17) last year introduced its first consumer electronics store brand, called Heyday, with products including headphones and smartphone cases. The demise of technology-focused retailers like Circuit City has opened up opportunities for other chains to grab gadget sales.
Retailers have found some success with kid-friendly tablets priced well below Apple’s iPad, whose new Pro line starts at $799. Amazon 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.
Walmart’s ONN store brand mainly sells accessories like headphones, charging cables and television soundbars.Favorite