Back in March, a Walmart spokesman told Bloomberg that the giant retailer would bring budget-friendly, self-branded Android tablets to market to compete with Amazon's kid-friendly Fire tablets. Now, these Android tablets are in Walmart stores available for purchase.
The Walmart Onn tablets come in two sizes, with 8-inch and 10.1-inch displays. The 8-inch Walmart Onn tablet features a 1280x800 IPS LCD screen, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, and a 1.3GHz quad-core processor (whose manufacturer is unknown). You can see both Onn tablets from Walmart below.
An original report back in March lists the MediaTek MT8163 as the processor, but this isn't listed at Walmart's website. A 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera and 2-megapixel rear camera round out the specs. The 10.1-inch Walmart Onn tablet has a wider screen with an unlisted resolution and many of the same specs as the 8-inch model.
The 1280x800 resolution is barely HD. There's nothing listed about the 16GB of onboard storage being expandable (meaning you could add an SD card), so you're likely stuck with what you get here. The quad-core processor is sufficient for these meager specs, though.
The 0.3MP front and 2MP rear cameras are a testimony to accommodation more than consumer preference. Few consumers purchase tablets and, of those who do, even fewer use their cameras for photos. Photography isn't a concern with these tablets, as consumers are more focused on the price instead.
Both tablets run Android 9.0 Pie out of the box, which stands out when you consider the other unimpressive specs of Walmart's self-branded lineup. Walmart doesn't have a skin for its Android experience, though, which means that consumers will enjoy "pure vanilla Android" on these ultra-affordable tablets. Well, that is, if you don't count the pre-loaded Walmart app suite.
And, in another major surprise outside of Android Pie, the Walmart Onn tables come with full Google Play Store access and apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, Duo, Google Docs, and more, making them a good consumer buy for those who want the fullscale Android user experience.
The full Play Store access is a hard blow to Amazon, whose Fire tablets come without Google Play pre-installed. Amazon has its own forked Android experience that runs without Google Play. There are certain parts of Android that are open-sourced, meaning that anyone can use them, and Amazon offers those open parts on its Fire tablets.
Google Play Store access, however, is closed-source, meaning that Google must grant permission for any manufacturer to use its Play Store and app suite. As we've seen this week, Google's premature decision to blacklist Huawei's Android license would have brought dire consequences to the Chinese OEM.
The 8-inch Onn tablet costs a mere $64 while the 10.1-inch model costs slightly higher, $79. Both come in Navy Blue. Walmart says a third tablet with a keyboard accessory will complete the Onn lineup, but has yet to list it at its website.
Few manufacturers are making Android tablets today because few consumers are buying them. One reason behind that concerns price points, as a number of branded tablets cost $200 or more. Premium tablets like Samsung's Galaxy Tab S lineup cost $600 or more.
And yet, more budget-friendly price points could be the start to a thriving tablet consumption in the US. After all, consumers never get enough of affordable products, and chances are, some consumer will always want a replaceable tablet as a backup in the event the one they have goes kaput.