The false problem of Honor and Huawei smartphones

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Does the fact that Honor is the former subsidiary of Huawei negatively influence the image of the brand? Not really, tells us the brand, which has some interesting arguments to make.

The Honor stand at MWC 2023 // Source: Frandroid

The Honor Magic 5 Pro (which we carry in our hands) was presented with great fanfare during MWC 2023 in Barcelona. Undeniably high-end, already awarded in photos by DXOMARK, this smartphone has enough to upset heavyweights like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. The Chinese brand does not hide its ambitions: it does not pretend to be a second violin.

Especially since the great technology fair was also the opportunity to reveal the official price in euros of the Honor Magic Vs, which will come to animate the market of folding smartphones in France. The Honor Magic 5 Lite is not far behind with its long battery life. In short, a bunch of ads to show that Honor is more present than ever in the world of smartphones and that it is hungry. However, reading these lines, some may remember that there is still a certain thorn in Honor: its past ties to Huawei.

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Honor became independent from Huawei in 2020. However, a question may legitimately arise. Is the general public aware of this information? Did you know that you can now buy an Honor smartphone without having to fear the same drastic usage restrictions as on a Huawei device? Before our questions, spokespersons for the brand explained to us that it was actually a false problem.

Honor and the embargo against Huawei

Let’s remember some facts. In 2019, the United States imposed a very strong embargo against Huawei and its Honor subsidiary. The US intelligence services then accuse the company of carrying out espionage activities on behalf of China through its network infrastructures. Huawei is effectively a telecom giant as well as selling devices to the general public. Result of sanctions imposed by Washington: Huawei and Honor smartphones can no longer offer a classic Android experience outside of China. No more Play Store, no more Google apps or apps that depend on certain Google solutions to work. A terrible blow to the image of the brand and its sales.

The photographic module of the Huawei Mate 50 Pro // Source: Frandroid – Chloé Pertuis

Despite the sometimes clever, sometimes flawed solutions provided by Huawei to compensate, history will remember above all that the US embargo has hardened over time. Little by little, the supply and manufacturing lines of devices were affected, then the brand’s smartphones could no longer offer 5G -like the Mate 50 Pro- and now the group is losing even its last licenses that authorized work with firms americans. Therefore, you should no longer be able to install Windows on your laptops.

However, since its resale in 2020, all these new episodes of the Huawei affair technically no longer concern Honor, which has found all its American partners. The Honor Magic 5 Pro, for example, happily takes advantage of 5G and the Play Store. The former subsidiary is no longer under the yoke of American sanctions and it is a speech that spokespersons do not hesitate to crush if asked about it. Except that such a history that mixes geopolitical interests and economic influences necessarily leaves traces, even if we leave them behind, right? Well no, Honor explains.

history doesn’t matter

This is where we get to this notion of a false problem. When we asked this question, we necessarily had the point of view of a medium specializing in new technologies. A news site that closely follows these stories in various episodes, all the twists. Therefore, we necessarily have a story well in mind, it is part of our work. However, opposite, our interlocutors explain that, unlike us, the vast majority of consumers do not bother to remember all the details of these stories. The general public has already forgotten that Honor was a subsidiary of Huawei at the time.

So, according to Honor representatives, the typical purchase process is very straightforward. A person who learns about a brand name product simply wants to see if it meets their needs for their budget. He doesn’t wonder if some of the effects of the embargo are still showing up on Honor. The brand, therefore, does not need to complicate this information by remembering that it is independent. It is not necessary to know the whole story, the most important thing is the product. “For the general public, it is very clear that Honor and Huawei are two different brandssays a representative. So what we’re being told here is that most people looking at Honor products don’t think of Huawei in the same way that they don’t particularly think of Samsung or Apple.

As for the most tech-savvy, who have followed the entire soap opera well, they finally know that Honor smartphones no longer present any particular problem in the user experience.

influence remains

One question remains: Honor’s smartphones still resemble Huawei’s. The Magic 5 Pro, for example, sports a wide, round photo module on the back and runs on MagicOS. Therefore, the design is reminiscent of a Mate 50 Pro, while the interface remains very close to that of Huawei, EMUI. The brand had already explained itself in 2021 arguing that at the time of its independence, thousands of Huawei R&D engineers migrated to Honor. Therefore, they simply continued to work on projects that had already started. That’s where the similarities come from.

Honor Magic 5 Pro // Source: Frandroid

However, we are now in 2023 and the similarities persist. Honor refines his explanation a little more in response to this observation. “We start from a similar base, not from a blank sheet. So there are definitely similarities. Honor doesn’t want to stand out just to stand out. We want to make changes when they are interested in the user and the productsays a representative. So please understand that we should continue to see some similarities for years to come. The differentiating developments will be made gradually, only when they have a more relevant justification than the simple desire not to do like Huawei.

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