Just a few years ago, Huawei smartphones were the industry’s number two bestseller in the world and number one in its home country in terms of miles. But then US sanctions hit, and now Huawei’s smartphone sales are plummeting.
This led the Chinese tech giant to sell its Honor sub-brand last November, which Huawei officials said was a move to ensure Honor’s “survival”.
Looks like the plan is working. After weeks of rumors, Honor officially confirmed last Friday that it has reached an agreement with US chip giant Qualcomm to use the latter’s silicon. This fixes one of the two issues currently crippling Huawei’s smartphones: the lack of chip supply after Washington cut Huawei’s access to suppliers.
Speaking at the Qualcomm China Tech Day live event in Shanghai last Friday, Honor CEO George Zhao said contacting Qualcomm was one of the very first things on his agenda after finalizing the contract. the sale.
“As a new company, we had to start discussions with the suppliers, which we did [right away with Qualcomm]Zhao said, adding that the San Diego-based silicon company conducted a “strict and thorough” certification process before reaching an agreement with Honor.
Almost immediately after closing the deal, Zhao said, Honor worked closely with Qualcomm. The upshot is that Honor’s next smartphone will be the world’s first phone to use Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 778G chip.
Not much information is yet known about Honor’s next phone, but Qualcomm showcased the Snapdragon 778G at its event in Shanghai. It’s basically a 6nm chip with a built-in 5G modem and three ISPs (Image Signal Processors), which means that in terms of processing power, it’s not too far removed from Snapdragon silicon. 888 from Qualcomm.
“Our team only had six months to work with Qualcomm to [get the Snapdragon 778G in the product], which is a process that typically takes 12 months, ”Zhao said. “I couldn’t be prouder of our team for being able to do it.”
Zhao said Honor is planning another device with Qualcomm that will be a flagship, which will likely be the Snapdragon 888+ which is due to be unveiled later this summer.
Honor phones have therefore solved the silicon problem that plagued Huawei phones; but what about the second problem: Google’s lack of mobile services due to US sanctions? While Zhao doesn’t comment on whether Honor phones will be able to use Google’s services, it appears to be anything but a done deal.
“We have every intention of releasing smartphones outside of China this year,” Zhao said. “We are free from [the needs of] users outside of China regarding software, and will provide the best possible solution at the time of publication. “
Honor has always been an unsung hero for Huawei – it was Honor’s rapid growth in the budget and mid-range sector that allowed Huawei to move enough units to surpass Apple as the second-largest phone company. best-selling brand in the world in 2019. Now that Honor is activated on its own and could potentially gain access to Google, the brand could regain its past glory – this time for itself.