Smartphones: Honor takes its first steps without Huawei

D-Day for Honor. After nine months of absence, the Chinese smartphone brand made its comeback on Thursday by presenting three new 5G phones ranging from 900 to 1,500 euros. This launch of almost an hour and a half on YouTube was not trivial. They were indeed the first Honor models since the brand was sold at the end of 2020 by its bulky owner, Huawei, to make it escape US sanctions.

Huawei created Honor in 2013 to target the entry-level market. First only sold on the internet, Honor smartphones have met with some success in several countries, including in Europe, especially among young people. At the beginning of 2019, more than one in three smartphones sold by Huawei was actually marked Honor, according to Canalys. The Trump sanctions then derailed the machine. Instead of seeing its brand disappear, for lack of being able to buy enough American chips, Huawei had resolved to sell it to a consortium comprising around forty agents and distributors including Suning, the Chinese Darty.

This page is definitely turned, assures Honor, which no longer targets the low-cost segment alone. The now independent brand took advantage of the event to position itself as a technological champion in its own right, multiplying comparisons with Apple and being ahead of its 4 research centers, its 5,500 patent applications… challenges but we have overcome all these difficulties, urges George Zhao, CEO of Honor. We want to build a global high-tech brand. »

A billion colors

But Honor especially reminded that unlike Huawei, the brand always had access to the best American technologies. The Magic 3, Magic 3Pro and Magic 3Pro + unveiled on Thursday feature Qualcomm’s latest 5G processor. “It’s the newest chip in the industry,” said George Zhao. Or Huawei can no longer obtain chips from the American. As a result, the latest smartphones from the Chinese group unveiled at the end of July only offer 4G, while there are already more than 400 5G models on the market.

To better accentuate the contrast, Honor had even invited Cristiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm, to speak. Another big difference with Huawei, Honor smartphones run well on Android, Google’s operating system. This allows it to offer all the applications from the American giant’s Play Store. To make the difference, Honor also puts on the photo, with five sensors on the back of the devices, the video, and the screen “the most curved in the world” which can display more than a billion colors…

However, the step remains high for honor. In China, its market share has certainly increased from 3% to 14%. But on a global level, the manufacturer Xiaomi took advantage of its “absence” to steal the show. In the second quarter, its sales almost doubled (+83%). Xiaomi is now number one in Europe and number two globally, just behind Samsung.

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