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Honor Launches First Smartphone with US Tech

The smartphone manufacturer Honor, previously owned by Huawei, released its first smartphone for the international market after going independent. The new smartphone will have complete access to Google’s software and Qualcomm-made chips.

Honor 50, priced at $614, will be released in 40 markets worldwide, which is an important step for the brand to carve out a new space for itself in the market.

Huawei sold Honor to a consortium of buyers in December. One of them was even Shenzhen’s city government, where the smartphone manufacturer is located.

Huawei’s smartphone manufacturing business was severely diminished by the US 2019 and 2020 sanctions, which effectively restricted the company from using essential Android technology. This included access to the Android operating system, multiple apps, and chips used in manufacturing.

Honor was sold to preserve the company, as the US government didn’t include it in the sanctions. Therefore the new Honor 50 has an Android OS and a full suite of Google’s apps. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 778G chip is powering the latest smartphone, which has a 6.57-inch display and a set of four back cameras. It remains to be seen if the company plans to release a more compact smartphone besides the premium Honor 50.

These hardware specs reflect Honor trying to pivot away from the reputation of a budget brand.

The phone was already released in China earlier in 2021, and Honor has already recovered some of the country’s market: It held 15% of it in August 2021 and was the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the country. This doubled its global smartphone market share with a jump from 1.5% to 3.7%.

Nonetheless, the company is expected to face stiff competition in the international market, as Xiaomi established a strong position after Huawei’s decline.

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