GUANGZHOU, China – Honor, the Chinese smartphone brand formerly owned by Huawei, has launched its first device since it was sold out.
Huawei sold Honor, its budget smartphone brand, to a consortium of buyers in China in November to help the device survive amid US sanctions.
In 2019, Huawei was placed on a US export blacklist called the Entity List, which prevented American companies from selling certain components to the Chinese tech giant. This included both semiconductors and software.
Google was forced to disconnect from Huawei, which meant the US search giant’s Android mobile operating system could not be installed on the Chinese company’s devices. This has severely affected Huawei’s sales in international markets.
Last year, Huawei sold Honor to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, a consortium of 30 agents and dealers. At the time, Huawei said the sale was made so that Honor “could get through this difficult period”.
“The spin-off from the Honor team should help preserve the components we need, although this can take many months and is never guaranteed, especially given the geopolitical tensions in the air,” said Bryan Ma, vice president of device research at IDC.
“Still, the move helps keep the team of suppliers hoping they can continue product development.”
The majority of Honor’s sales come from China. In 2019, Honor shipped 64 million smartphones worldwide, according to IDC. In the first nine months of 2020, the company shipped 42 million units. Complete data for 2020 are not yet available.
Honor’s new smartphone is called the V40. It has a 6.72-inch display and is available in three colors: silver, black, and rose gold.
Honor spoke about the phone’s graphics processing and touchscreen capabilities, features that enhance gaming on the device, a smartphone use popular in China.
It can connect to next generation 5G cellular networks, a major requirement in China, the world’s largest 5G phone market.
The V40 uses a key 5G chip from Taiwan’s MediaTek, a company that became China’s leading smartphone semiconductor supplier in 2020.
Honors V40 starts at 3,599 yuan ($ 556) for the 128GB storage option and 3,999 yuan for the 256GB version. It will be released in China, but it is unclear whether it will be launched internationally.
“The message they (Honor) want to get across is that they have inherited a lot from Huawei, whether it’s chipset capability, photography, and research and development (R&D), all of the things they got from Huawei Devices, they have everything. ” Nicole Peng, a mobile analyst at Canalys, said.
“They don’t want to show that they lack Huawei’s R&D skills. They want to show that they still have them and they have a big team in R&D and that’s what people asked if they did when they split up that can maintain kind of innovation. ”