- Chinese consumer electronics giant Honor has launched its first foldable smartphone overseas – entering a high-end market dominated by Samsung and Apple.
- The Honor Magic V2 will go on sale in markets in Europe and elsewhere — but not in the US — after the first quarter of 2024, the company said.
- Magic V2 comes with all the latest features expected in a premium phone. It has a triple lens camera, sports Qualcomm’s latest mobile chipset and storage options that go up to 1 terabyte.
Honor launched its Magic V2 foldable on July 12, 2023 in the China market.
Chinese consumer electronics giant Honor has launched its first foldable smartphone overseas – entering a high-end market dominated by Samsung and Apple.
The Honor Magic V2 will go on sale in markets in Europe and elsewhere — but not in the US — after the first quarter of 2024, the company said.
Honor was sold from the Hawaiian company to a consortium of investors spun off by several US sanctions. A very small part of the overall market.
Honor wants to chart its own path since the spinoff, making a play especially for the premium segment of the smartphone arena and expanding overseas.
The Magic V2 is the company’s second foldable smartphone. The entire phone can be folded and unfolded.
Honor launched the handset in China in July, with the device starting at 8,999 yuan ($1,235), and it seems to be off to a strong start. The Shenzhen-headquartered company will be hoping for similar success overseas. The price of this phone in the international market is yet to be announced.
Honor had a 5.2% market share in the second quarter of this year, up slightly from 4.9% in the same period last year, and remains a minor player in the market according to IDC. China accounts for nearly 78% of Honor’s total smartphone exports, highlighting its confidence in its domestic market.
The Magic V2 is part of Honor’s strategy to build its global presence by launching high-spec phones at competitive prices, especially in mature European markets like the UK.
“Honor appears to be following up on its successful big push into the global smartphone market with the Huawei PlayBook, aiming for a largely high-end portfolio with an emphasis on high-end technology and specifications, before the U.S. measures are set in motion,” said Simon Baker. ITC’s Mobile Phone Research in Europe told CNBC via email.
“However, Honor, which is now independent, does this with fewer resources than Huawei.”
However, Honor faces many challenges in trying to compete with giants Apple and Samsung at the high end, especially in trying to raise its brand profile.
“Both Apple and Samsung have huge advantages in terms of size and R&D (research and development) resources and marketing clout. Honor’s new phones are generally well-received as products, but it will take years to become a well-known and respected name in the phone business,” Baker added.
Magic V2 comes with all the latest features expected in a premium phone.
It has a triple lens camera, sports Qualcomm’s latest mobile chipset and storage options that go up to 1 terabyte.
When the phone is unlocked, users can enjoy a 7.92-inch screen.
The device is 9.9 millimeters when folded, smaller than the 13.4 millimeters of its closest competitor, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5. Honor’s product is also lighter than Samsung’s.
CNBC took a look at the battery inside the device, which is extremely thin at just 2.72mm.
Although the specifications are innovative, Honor may still have a hard time convincing people to buy its device.
“When Honor was a sub-brand of Huawei, it was not present or well-known in many countries. It is now an advantage because many consumers do not immediately associate with Huawei, but at the same time Honor has to see itself as a reliable and premium brand,” Baker said.
According to Counterpoint Research, Samsung and Apple accounted for nearly 70% of the smartphone market in Western Europe in the first quarter, while Chinese brand Xiaomi came in third with a 15% market share. This highlights Honor’s challenge in certain markets.
“The experience of Chinese phone makers who have followed Huawei into Europe in the last few years has been a challenge, particularly in persuading consumers to buy their more expensive models,” Baker said.
On Friday, Honor also showed off a concept device designed to be worn like a handbag.