Honor wants to challenge Apple now that it's free of Huawei's sanctions

Honor V40 5G
Honor V40 5G (Image credit: Honor)

What you need to know

  • Now an independent brand, Honor wants to overtake Huawei and Apple in the smartphone market.
  • Huawei spun off Huawei late in 2020 in an effort to save the brand.
  • The now-liberated Honor has yet to release any phones with Google Play Services preinstalled, but it's expected to do so when the View 40 launches outside of China

As everyone expected, Honor can now make competitive phones with Google Play Services included after being disentangled from Huawei. Free to go its own way and strike partnerships with anyone they choose, the company explained that it planned to take on larger brands including Huawei, Apple with its own-branded flagships later this year.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Honor CEO George Zhao Ming said:

Our core mission this year is to make flagship phones that can compete with Apple and Huawei in China. No matter who the competitors are, we have a target to surpass them, including Huawei.

Honor, a former budget brand of the Chinese giant, was sold off by the larger company to prevent it from going down with the ship, so to speak. Huawei had been struck by several restrictions from the U.S. over the past two years. The most potent was the company's inclusion on the U.S. entity list, restricting trade with firms like Qualcomm and Google and all but guaranteeing the death of its smartphone line outside of China. Reports are also swirling that Huawei may even be considering selling off its flagship P and Mate-series soon. With no sign of the restrictions being lifted, Huawei may have no choice in the matter.

Zhao noted that Huawei has given the new company its support, the company even hoped that Honor would "be the strongest competitor of Huawei in the world, surpass Huawei, and even use defeating Huawei as your motivation."

Honor has made generally good phones in the past. The company often offered what could be seen as more affordable versions of Huawei's more "serious" flagships. These were aimed at younger people with flashier colors and less restrained design. Now that it has to stand on its own two feet, it'll be interesting to see what Honor does. The SCMP says that Honor wants to push even more upmarket now with higher-priced premium models.

It remains worth noting that while Honor is free to release phones with Google Play Services included the company has yet to do so. It does have the Honor View 40, a China-exclusive sequel to its excellent View 30. Honor is expected to release it globally in the coming weeks.

Michael Allison