The Award May Not Be Free From Huawei As It Claims


Honor clearly knows what the industry is watching. At the launch event for the Honor 50, its new flagship smartphone (a rebadged Huawei Nova 9 with a slightly different camera), it was highlighted that it had secured more than 1,100 long-term cooperation agreements of strategic partners and more than 30 suppliers. It also invited a Qualcomm spokesperson to the stage to discuss the chip that powers its new phone, while the house pointed out more specific Honor-exclusive tweaks made to the camera.

However, with the Huawei Nova 9 and Honor 5 in front of us, it’s clear that Honor hasn’t been able to differentiate the software in time for the new global flagship launch. The core Huawei apps (email, browser, etc.) are pretty much the same on both phones, even showing the same illustrations that guide you through initial use.

The Honor 50 camera is also worse than the Nova 9. It can have different sensors used on the same phones and can also show Honor’s lack of access to Huawei IP photo processing.

More than alarming, the phone’s “exclusive” Honor-engineered camera feature, Multi-channel Video Architecture, which allows both cameras to feed a split-screen video, is almost identical to the Nova 9’s Vlog mode. Yes, there is a slightly different UI, but the options are the same: front/back, back/back, and picture-in-picture video.

In China, the Honor 50 was launched before the Nova 9, so, technically, the Honor was there first. But scraping the barrel with camera modes within the modes highlights the struggle Honor faces that vary in the post-Huawei state.

This challenge is inevitable. Honor must change throughout the offering. It won’t close the store, and why? Mind No. 3 smartphone manufacturer in China, it has customers to service and sell.

So, while the company is going through an awkward youth, the question remains: Is there hope for the Honor brand outside of China? The first signs are mixed. On the one hand, Honor has taken positive steps, revealing that a redesign of MagicUI, Huawei’s EMUI replica, is in the works. Also announced this week is the opening of its own factory to make its own products. On the other hand, we have yet to see a device made full by Honor, so the next few handsets to launch will definitely reveal more than what the Honor 50 does.

The main concerns really come down to R&D and manufacturing. An industry insider told WIRED “one reason OnePlus and Realme share many of OPPO’s design features and / or billing technologies is because OnePlus has to use OPPO’s manufacturing lines, and the machines used there are more expensive. ”

In fact, most of the good things about the Honor 50 are Huawei’s features: premium design, fast charging, and a good display. We don’t know which phones Honor actually makes, or who Honor is as a brand.

Facing the Herculean task of retaining its customers; defining its new, Huawei-free brand identity; cementing strategic partnerships; creating a portfolio of products; plugging in IP holes; and distribution management, to name just a few priorities — all in an industry facing a shortage of components — the stakes are high. CounterPoint research VP Neil Shah clearly puts it this way: “[Honor] well done in China. But emulating this success outdoors would be a marathon, not a sprint.


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