Tue. Dec 7th, 2021

Honor clearly knows the industry is watching. At the Honor 50 launch event, its new flagship smartphone (a rebranded Huawei Nova 9 with a slightly different camera), emphasized that it secured more than 1,100 long-term cooperation agreements with strategic partners and more than 30 suppliers. It invited a Qualcomm spokesperson to the stage to discuss getting the chip for its new phone, while it brought home very specific Honor-exclusive tweaks made to the camera.

However, with both Huawei Nova 9 and Honor 5 in front of us, it is clear that Honor could not separate the software in time for its new global flagship launch. The original Huawei apps (email, browser, etc.) are virtually identical on both phones, even showing the same images that guide you through first use.

The Honor 50 camera is worse than the Nova 9. This may be less for the different sensors used in both phones and may also reflect Honor’s lack of access to Huawei’s photography processing IP.

More worryingly, the phone’s “exclusive” Honor-engineered camera feature, multi-channel video architecture, which allows two cameras to feed into a split-screen video, is virtually the same as the Nova 9’s Vlog mode. Yes, there is a slightly different UI, but the options are the same: front / rear, rear / rear and picture-in-picture video.

In China, the Honor 50 was launched before the Nova 9, so, technically, the Honor arrived there first. But scraping the barrel with camera mode in mode highlights the struggles Honor is facing in the post-Huawei state.

This challenge was inevitable. Honor will have to redo his full offer. It can’t close the store, and why would it? As China’s No. 3 smartphone maker, it has existing customers for service and upsell.

So, as the company goes through an awkward puberty, the question remains: what are the prospects for the Honor brand outside of China? The initial symptoms are mixed. On the one hand, Honor is taking positive steps, revealing that a redesign of Huawei’s EMUI replica MagicUI is underway. It announced the opening of its own manufacturing plant this week to make its own products. On the other hand, we have yet to see a device created Absolutely By Honor, so the next few handsets that will launch must reveal more than the Honor 50.

The main concern actually comes down to R&D and production. An industry insider told WIRED “One of the reasons OnePlus and Realme share so many design features and / or charging technology with OPPO is that OnePlus had to use OPPO line manufacturing and the machines used there are incredibly expensive.”

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

Facing the extremely difficult task of retaining its customers; Let’s define the new, Huawei-free brand identity; Cementing strategic partnerships; Create a portfolio of products; IP hole plugging; And distribution management, just to name a few priorities – all in an industry that faces material shortages – is more of a bet. Counterpoint Research VP Neel Shah made it clear: “[Honor] China has done well. But replicating this success outside is going to be a marathon, not a sprint. “

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