Back in early 2019, Honor was one of the best up-and-coming phone brands putting out fantastic mid-range handsets like the Honor 20 and Honor 20 Pro. Then the Huawei ban hit, which affected Honor as much as it did its parent company Huawei in stopping the phones getting Google Mobile Services like the Play Store, Gmail, Chrome, Maps and more.
Since then, Honor has had a greatly reduced presence in the west, only launching a few handsets with limited availability, and it seemed their ascent had been halted. That was, until late 2020, when Huawei sold Honor to a separate company, giving the sub-brand a new lease of life.
The brand's independence hasn't fully started yet, but it does have new products coming out like the Honor Band 6 and Honor V40 smartphone. These are developed when Honor was part of Huawei, and we haven't seen a glimpse at what the new-found independence has wrought. That could change soon though.
According to Russian newspaper Kommersant, Honor is planning to launch a new line of smartphones in 'spring' 2021 (likely around the middle of the year), and these new phones will get Google apps instead of the Huawei AppGallery.
No information has been shared on this new line of smartphones, so we don't know which market segment they'll occupy (budget, premium or mid-range), or if it'll replace the brand's current handsets.
Good news for phone fans
Competition is always healthy, and in the phones world it encourages each company to innovate, and find ways to offer top specs for low prices, which often results in better phones to buy.
Now that Honor may be better able to sell its devices in western markets like Europe, it'll pose more competition for existing companies and keep this innovation cycle going.
Honor operates most in the lower mid-range and upper budget segments, and the companies putting out those kind of phones are most likely to take note. Xiaomi, Motorola and Google have all recently put out phones in that price bracket, and they'll need to find new ways to impress if Honor starts to steal the show.
This is all hypothetical, assuming Honor is indeed making a new series of smartphones and they do get wide releases. But if Honor phones do make a full comeback, all phone fans, whether or not they'd consider buying a handset from the company, will hopefully get to reap the benefits.
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Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.
He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.