A few years ago, few had heard of Honor but now the Chinese brand is known among young people (and not so young) and is demonstrating that it wants to compete in the smartphone market side by side with the other major manufacturers. Honor 9 shows the brand’s evolution and talking to honor president George Zhao, we have not gotten any idea about the strategy the house is putting into practice.

Opinion by Jessica Murgia
The Honor 9 will be a success, as it combines a beautiful design, excellent hardware components and a competitive price
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From Honor 6 to Honor 9: Evolution is evident

Since in 2014 Honor presented Honor 6 it has rained quite a lot. If before the name Honor sounded new in the smartphone market and was associated in a negative way with the Chinese market, now the manufacturer can walk with head up high together with LG, Samsung, Apple and obviously Huawei.

Honor 9 shows the genes inherited from his beloved predecessor, Honor 8, but introduces some visible innovations, such as the curved cover in 3D glass, the fingerprint reader on the front panel and the gray, Glacier Gray, which Unites a renewed blue variant, Sapphire Blue.

To create a smartphone like Honor 9, Honor has also had to rely on other collaborators, including Monster and Huawei

As George Zhao pointed out in our interview, Honor 9 seeks to attract the young with a new look, but also with a double camera optimized with 2x zoom, and an improved audio system thanks to the collaboration with Monster. The price of 449 euros makes this smartphone even more interesting in the eyes of the younger and younger, as, as Zhao clarified during the launch event of the new device, the brand is aimed at both types of user.

Listening to the needs of these users is the goal of Honor, which focuses on the multimedia experience and for this they opted for Rezo, a German musician and YouTuber who started to record their videos just with an Honor 6. To create a smartphone like the Honor 9, able to satisfy users in music playback, photo production and video and gaming experience, Honor has had to rely on other partners, including Monster and Huawei. And these two names make us understand many things …

The relationship between Huawei and Honor

Several hardware components present in Honor 9 come directly from the P10 officially released by Huawei during the MWC of Barcelona 2017. If you look at the technical specifications of the two devices the processor numbers and internal RAM, the battery and the camera are the same. Honor, for that matter, has entered the smartphone market under the wing of Huawei, but concentrating on online sales. And to this day in China, as George Zhao has pointed out to us, Honor surpasses Huawei for the first time in online sales.

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New glacier gray color introduced in Honor 9. / © AndroidPIT

Honor has started selling its products also in physical stores and will independently manage and decide the options and technologies it will adopt in its own products. That does not mean that for some technologies continue to rely on the Huawei home team. From the words of George Zhao it seems then that Honor appears to want to separate himself from the influence of Huawei, building his own identity but without renouncing his contribution in the production phase of his smartphones.

A strategy that somehow resembles that of Apple?

It might seem like a risky statement, and it may be a little bit. However, there are some elements that lead to this “mortal leap” if we can define it as such. For the launch of Honor 9, the Chinese brand made available the link to follow the live event. One measure that was adopted by Apple for its “toys” and that, now also has been adopted by other brands like OnePlus.

The partnership with Monster in the audio section, did not you immediately remind Apple and Beats? The same Noel Lee, CEO of Monster Inc., mentioned the purchase of Beats Electronics by Cupertino, which was carried out in 2014 for 3 billion dollars. Both Beats and Monster are two well-known brands among young people and among music lovers and targeting a similar team it is possible to improve the musical offer in several aspects and attract the attention of young users. Nor is the target audience of the two brands as far as it might seem at first glance.

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Honor focuses on the most youthful users. / © AndroidPIT

In May, Huawei unveiled the new MateBook (X, E and D) line-up in Berlin. The Apple MacBook Air and Pro for years were the benchmark in this area, but now, Huawei with Microsoft on its side , Could become a new threat to Cupertino. The Chinese brand was first inspired by its rival and now will try to add some of its invention, as it has done with smartphones, to propose to users a product that goes to add to others, expanding its ecosystem.

Huawei is not Honor, but, as we mentioned before, the two work together and looking at the big picture, the overall long-term strategy seems to be similar to Apple’s, a model in which so many have been inspired.

What are the plans of the brand?

We asked George Zhao for some details about Honor’s long-term strategy. As for artificial intelligence, Magic Honor was the first smartphone to implement artificial intelligence technology. This concept allowed the brand to test a new business model, but to be effective at a certain level you have to work with other partners in the industry. Zhao did not confirm the arrival of an Honor Magic 2 but the brand seems open to collaborations to work in IA.

Europe, Russia, India, Japan, the United States and some countries in the Middle East are the markets where the brand prefers to focus for the moment

Speaking of smartphones, however, Honor will continue to work on their successful products and George Zhao confirmed the arrival of Honor 9 Pro next year. Although smartphones are not the only devices in which the brand is being focused (the launch of Honor Band 3 and the special headphones for sport are an example) at the moment the smart home is not a priority. The spirit of Honor are the youngest users and only if they cry out for such devices, the brand would try to satisfy them, but for now the TVs and similar products do not fall into the plans of Zhao and his team.

Among the markets that Honor has decided to explore for now we do not find Latin America. Europe, Russia, India, Japan, the United States and some countries of the Middle East are the markets where the brand prefers to focus at the moment to ensure a good service to its users.

Honor 9 is just the beginning

Honor, with Honor 9, has wanted to leave its imprint on the market. The brand, such as LG, Samsung, Apple and Huawei is on the field of play and tries to better define their identity. For this he has begun to better optimize the design and features of his smartphones by asking for help to those who have technology and industry experience that Honor does not yet have.

Honor 9 will be a success in my opinion and I think it will not be the only one we will see if the brand remains focused and tries to improve listening to its own users and taking advantage of available technologies without looking too much at Apple and Samsung.

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