They’ve beaten both Google and Apple to the punch. That’s not something you’ll hear often. Honor, a sub-brand belonging to Chinese phone manufacturer Huawei, has announced the world’s first AI phone – The Honor View 10.
The Honor headquarters is located in Shenzhen, China. Until recently, they’ve managed to fly relatively under the radar, all the while growing in power like some evil mastermind. Except, they may just be the telecommunication heroes the Western world has been waiting for.
Their business model is simple and smart.
Since 2016, Honor has been selling products predominantly online, via its own sites as well as online third-party retailers. They are able to offer smartphones at lower prices because the company saves a ton of money by operating online.
Since establishment in 2013, Honor has slowly grown, and by 2015 was available in 74 countries, including European nations, India and Japan. 2015 also saw their first flagship phone, the Honor 6, selling 20 million units in the first six months. The very next year saw them break into the US market, debuting at the 2016 Consumer Electrics Show (CES) with the Huawei Honor 5X.
In August of the same year, technology news website Recode reported that Honor, in that year, had sold 60 million products and generated $8.4 billion in revenue.
In 2017, the Honor 6X earned the CES ‘best of 2017’ award from various technology publications.
Many Chinese phone manufacturers have attempted to make a big splash in the market. ZTE, Xiaomi and many more have all but entirely failed. Huawei itself has done, well, just alright, considering how massive it is. Enter Honor – a quasi-independently run brand which exists beside Huawei the same way Lexus exists beside Toyota. They have a simple enough strategy:
First appeal to customers, then lean on the hype. Honor’s President, George Zhao, has stated that he wishes to build a reputation with the consumer. He’s sticking to his guns in a big way.
Here’s the problem with Chinese phones: Made In China.
Don’t look at me like that. Everybody was thinking it, I just said it. You may be thinking that buying into mid to low range smartphones is a bad idea and that it’s only going to fall apart within a week. Honor’s products, though, are fast earning a reputation for durability and quality.
The problem they’re really facing is the same as any other new phone manufacturer trying to break into the market. A lack of recognition.
If you were to buy a reputable brand such as, let’s say Samsung, you know exactly what you’re getting. Or, you think you do, until the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 explodes in your face.
Point is, we as consumers usually stick to what we know, what we’re familiar with, and we rarely venture to drop a couple grand on something new.
Honor has some big aspirations. It generates 85% of sales in China alone, where it’s second only behind Apple. The goal, however, is to get half of its sales from outside of China in the next 4 years. Breaking into the US market would help achieve that goal, and certainly make the brand more recognisable. There’s a problem, though, one which Zhao isn’t too pleased about.
See, most US consumers buy their phones from their carriers; the same way we in South Africa get most of our phones from MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, etc. These carriers strike up deals with phone manufacturers and get them to tweak their phones to meet carrier specifications.
Think about the vanishing data problems we have in South Africa.
Honor and Zhao, however, are having none of that, and have no intention of following carrier requirements.
“If you follow the operator requirements, you will lose yourself,” said Zhao.
The Honor View 10
So, we have established that Honor offers quality, affordable phones, packed with high-end specifications and appealing features. These include the latest Android, strong cameras, fingerprint scanners, etc. We’ve established that the company is less-than-willing to kowtow to carriers and their nonsense. They may miss out on a big chunk of the market for now, but Zhao is willing to wait it out until they can arrange an equal, reasonable partnership with a carrier.
What nobody saw coming was that Honor would not only exceed expectations but raise the bar – and beat the household-name giants to it.
In the Honor View 10, the company has delivered a phone with an AI-capable processor – the much-vaunted Kirin 970. The term ‘AI-powered’ is thrown around a lot by other phone manufacturers using the likes of Siri and Google Assistant. The V10, though, is an entirely new advancement in technology.
The AI-processor is neural-network based, capable of making fast connections with less reliance on precise, sequential calculations. This ultimately results in the smartphone delivering a performance 25 times better than non-AI-enabled phones.
The V10 runs the latest Android Oreo on top of EMUI 8, features a dual-camera setup with 16MP and 20MP sensors, as well as a 13MP camera on front. It comes with either 4GB or 6GB of RAM and a 3,750mAh battery.
Adding to that, you’ve got an HD 5.99-inch 2160 x 1080 display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, as well as a fingerprint scanner. It’s also retained the 3.5mm headphone jack, which many other manufacturers have done away with.
The phone also offers its own take on Apple’s Animoji – a 3D Facial Animation feature – which is frankly just silly, but, you know… To each their own.
Honor’s on a roll, and if you’re feeling adventurous, why not go AI?