Huawei's Honor will continue to grow in the industry, says top official

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Chinese smartphone major Huawei's consumer devices brand Honor, which launched three new Android-based smartphones Tuesday amid uncertainty over access to key services of Google-owned software platform, exuded confidence that it will continue to grow in the industry.

"Honor will continue to work hard to bring out best innovation, best product and best technology for everybody and will continue to work to support the best experience for our customers. Honor will continue to grow in this industry and will continue to grow with young people," Honor President George Zhao said while unveiling the Honor 20 series smartphones here.

In the latest March quarter, Huawei was the second largest smartphone vendor with global shipments of 59.1 million units and 19 per cent market share, behind Samsung that had 71.9 million units shipment (23.1 per cent share), according to the research firm IDC.

A product team official of Honor said that the three smartphones that were unveiled will be launched in India on June 11 and there is no change in schedule as of now.

Globally, the Honor 20 series has been priced in the range of 299 to 599 euro but prices in India will be unveiled on June 11.

"Honor is a big family. I believe together we have to build future," Zhao said after announcing the global price for the three models of the Honor 20 series.

The Honor had scheduled a media interaction with Zhao after its first global launch held here but cancelled it following the software ban imposed by the US government on its parent firm Huawei.

"We have cancelled all media interviews with President George Zhao because it is a sensitive time for us," an Honor media team official told PTI.

The company official said that the Honor 20 series launch was not cancelled because it is a Google certified device and the US technology giant has said that it will continue to provide software updates to all existing devices from Huawei group.

Last week, the US government had placed Huawei and its affiliates on a blacklist, a move that essentially bans the Chinese firm from purchasing parts and components from American companies without the US government approval.

Google is said to be ending transfer of hardware, software and technical services to Huawei amid the ongoing trade war between the US and China.

Pointing out that it had made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world, Huawei said it has worked closely with Android's open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry.

"We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally," it added.

The company did not elaborate on the impact of the development on its customers in India.

Huawei is likely to lose access to the Android operating system as well as applications like Maps, Gmail and access to Play Store.

Besides, the latest development is expected to benefit competitors like Samsung and Xiaomi that sell Android phones.

Counterpoint Research Associate Director Tarun Pathak said the latest development is going to impact the new device sales for Huawei and Honor.

India is one of their key countries outside China with almost four per cent market share, he added.

About 31 million units smartphones were shipped in India during the January-March 2019 quarter with Xiaomi leading the tally with 29 per cent share and followed by Samsung (23 per cent), Vivo (12 per cent), Realme and Oppo (7 per cent each).

Pathak said Huawei can always look at using the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) but that is unlikely to provide a good consumer experience.

"Huawei always put in a lot of effort in the integration of hardware and software for a seamless experience. Using AOSP is unlikely to provide a good consumer experience," he said.

AOSP is a version of the Android operating system available through the open source license.