Huawei launches mid-range Honor 7 smartphone, but risks 'cannibalising' P8 range market share

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 July, 2015, 9:15am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 September, 2015, 1:09pm

Chinese smartphone maker Huawei released its latest Honor handset, packing some high specs - including a fingerprint sensor said to be three times faster than competitors' - into the alloy-bodied devices which start at 1,999 yuan (US$323).

While the new mid-range handset will no doubt help the Shenzhen-based telecoms giant win ground against rivals such as Xiaomi and ZTE, a research firm warned the device might cannibalise Huawei's own flagship P8 smartphone.

Among the highlights of the Honor 7 are a 20-megapixel rear camera, support for dual-SIM and a fast charging technology that is said to be able to achieve 50 per cent charge in 30 minutes.

The handset comes with a 5.2-inch full high-definition display, an octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 935 processor that is clocked at 2.2 GHz, 3 GB of RAM memory, and 16 or 64 gigabytes of expandable internal storage.

The alloy-bodied device, which comes in grey, gold and silver, also contains a 3,100 mAH battery and a fast-charging technology that could be fully charged in less than an hour and a half, according to press material.

Beneath the camera is a touch fingerprint sensor that is said to be able to identify fingerprints in about 0.5 second, about three times faster than the iPhone 6 Plus. Some apps on the phone have been built with the sensor in mind for added security.

The most affordable variant ships with 3G connectivity and 16GB of internal memory and costs 1,999 yuan (US$323), while the same device with 4G LTE cost 2,199 yuan (US$350). The most expensive model comes with 4G LTE connectivity and 64GB of internal storage, and sells for 2,499 yuan (US$400). They will go on sale on July 7.

Research firm Canalys commented on its Twitter that the Honor 7 could cannibalise the Huawei P8’s market share with its lower price and greater functionality.

Smartphones under the separate Honor brand are sold through e-commerce channels, and its marketing, like Xiaomi, heavily focuses on social media, thus cutting overhead expenses.

While Honor is still a small part of Huawei, the unit’s revenue surged to US$2.4 billion last year from just US$109 million in 2013, Huawei said earlier this year. Honor last year accounted for roughly 20 per cent of the revenue at Huawei’s consumer business unit, which consists mostly of mobile phones.

Huawei, which ranked fifth globally in smartphone with a market share of 5 per cent in the third quarter according to Strategy Analytics, has already sold 20 million Honor smartphones last year, mainly on the mainland. The firm sold 75 million smartphones globally in 2014.