The tablet market has been a bit stale for a while, with few companies daring to take on the all conquering iPad. Samsung has the high-end market sewn up with the excellent Galaxy Tab S7 and Amazon’s Fire tablets make for excellent budget options, but there’s certainly plenty of space left in the middle for a solid Android tablet.
That gap in the market could soon be filled by Chinese company Oppo, according to a leaker on Chinese social network Weibo.
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Prolific tipster Digital Chat Station posted an update saying that the company is planning “tablet and notebook products” and they’re expected to launch next year.
While Oppo is one of the largest phone manufacturers in the world, the bulk of its handsets sell in China. You don’t see many Oppo phones in the US, even though they’ve always reviewed very well here at T3. The Oppo Find X2, for example, bagged a coveted platinum award in our review.
But it’s important to look at the bigger picture here. Oppo has a number of sister companies that often share technology: Realme, Vivo and OnePlus. The latter of these is growing in popularity in the west, and its handsets often feature similar DNA – compare the aforementioned Oppo Find X2 to the OnePlus 8 Pro, for example, and you'll find a whole heap of similarities.
That doesn’t guarantee that OnePlus will release its own tablet, of course – especially if this is chiefly something aimed at the Chinese market where Oppo is a dominant force – but the potential is there. And we know that OnePlus isn’t averse to branching out from phones – the company has already released a TV and earbuds, and we know it was close to making its own smartwatch and Bluetooth speaker at one point. Compared to each of these, a tablet is far closer to the company’s bread and butter.
But any challenger has to deal with the commercial realities of releasing a tablet in the 2020s: if it doesn’t have the word “iPad” on it, it will likely struggle to make too much of a dent. In 2019, Apple achieved over a third of the global market share, with Samsung, Huawei and Amazon getting under 16.1% and recording year-on-year declines.
In other words, while there is undoubtedly a gap in the mid-range tablet market, the question is whether it’s there for good reason. Oppo could be about to find out.