Huawei ignores Android elephant in the room at Honor handset launch
Image credit: jack loughran
Huawei sub-brand Honor revealed its latest handsets in London yesterday, but it made no mention of what operating system the phones would be running following a tumultuous week for the company and its relationship with the US.
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump added Huawei to a blacklist which restricts US companies from working with the firm.
The decision was made during a mounting trade war between the US and China over concerns that Huawei has too close a relationship with the Chinese government, which could pose a threat to national security considering its prominence in building both the communications devices and the infrastructure.
The White House directive has already impacted Google, developers of Android OS which is found on all of Huawei’s smartphones outside China. The order has meant the Chinese firm will be prevented from upgrading its devices to future versions of Android, although it has promised that current users will continue to receive security updates.
With the order still so recent, Huawei has yet to outline how it will respond and what this means for the future of its smartphones. The fissure with Google is highly significant, as Huawei recently became the world’s second largest smartphone manufacturer - surpassing Apple - after seeing massive year-on-year growth since 2012.
Its handsets are set to lose access to Google Play Services, an underlying component of the Android OS that gives users access to apps through the Play Store and key Google services such as Gmail and Maps.
A palpable sense of uncertainty surrounded yesterday’s Honor 20 event, which saw three devices launched: the Honor 20, Honor 20 Pro and the Honor 20 Lite. The show felt truncated and no mention was made of what OS the phones would run. This compares to previous years where the company was keen to extol the virtues of the latest features found in its own reskin of Android, dubbed EMUI.
A mob of confused journalists gathered at the end of the launch event in an attempt to get further clarification from tight-lipped Honor representatives.
The Honor phone was also supposed to go on sale immediately following the event, but few outlets seem to be stocking it. Amazon shows a two-week pre-order period and even Honor’s own store lists the phone as out of stock less than 24 hours after launch.
In terms of specification, the Honor 20 Pro reflects Huawei’s continued R&D investment, boasting a four-camera setup that achieves a whopping score of 111 on DxOmark, beating all iPhones and only usurped by a single point by Huawei’s own P30 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.
The Pro uses a 48MP sensor for its main camera, featuring an ‘AI Ultra Clarity mode’ and 'AIS Super Night mode' which lets users capture clearer images in the dark. The device also comes with a 16MP super wide-angle camera, 8MP telephoto camera and 2MP macro camera, which allows users to capture wider and closer shots.
The devices all have 6.26" displays with a 91.7 per cent screen-to-body ratio and a fingerprint sensor that’s built into the power button.
It also uses “graphene cooling sheet technology” that Honor says will efficiently dissipate heat from the device, helping to maintain optimal performance during long gaming sessions.
Honor got in touch with E&T to note that they have confirmed their handsets will continue to receive security and Android updates for the foreseeable future.
Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.