Honor vs Huawei Smartphones : What's The Difference?

"Sir Mark, isn't Honor one and the same as Huawei?"

That's one of the tech-related questions that I've been asked the most ever since Honor Philippines snapped out of its two-year-long hiatus with the release of the flagship-level Honor 10 AI-powered Android smartphone.

I'd usually answer that question this way:

"Honor was established in 2013 as a mere sub-brand of Chinese tech company Huawei that caters to online consumers. Ideally, Honor Android smartphones should be priced lower than competing devices with similar technical specifications because of the lower operating cost of selling mainly through the internet. During its early years, Honor stuck to this business model but in more recent times, the brand's marketing model has seemingly evolved, tapping offline channels in various territories around the world." (source 1, source 2)

Honor vs Huawei

The last sentence of my answer has become particularly true here in the Philippines where Honor has begun selling its devices through authorized retail outlets located in malls within Mega Manila and Luzon (and I heard in Visayas and Mindanao, soon.)

No longer just relying on online stores to move its products, Honor's business strategy - I'd say - has become a lot like that of Huawei Mobile. The only difference at this point is that the latter already has its own Concept Stores and network carrier partners like Smart Communications and Globe Telecom.

But that's my observation. I could be wrong. Perhaps, I'm not seeing the bigger picture.

Earlier, I stumbled upon this 2014 ComputerWeekly article which contains this brief explanation, coming from Honor itself, on how exactly it is different from Huawei Mobile:

"Honor’s parent company is Huawei but it is an entirely new brand. It is a brand that will grow and be shaped by its audience and supporters. 

It is in the fortunate position of being able to benefit from the extensive hardware and software experience and global footprint of the Huawei parent company, but it is run by a dedicated team and is run as a separate business.

Honor is a subsidiary company of Huawei and the relationship between the two brands is complementary. We plan to continue this relationship on an ongoing basis.

Honor products will not be branded Huawei as Honor is now a brand in its own right.

Huawei has previously released Honor devices under the Huawei brand. But from this moment on, Honor is a new brand. We know there is a real opportunity to create a brand for the digital native generation and our Honor devices are best positioned to meet their needs. It makes sense to use the Honor name for this new brand as it already has some awareness amongst our audience."

The same difference, then?

Frankly, it's an explanation that leaves more questions than answers.

Right now, I'm wondering if Huawei Mobile Philippines is ready to compete directly with a sub-brand from its HQ. Won't Honor devices cannibalize on Huawei phones? How can Honor market itself as a unique player in the market that's different from its parent company? If the two brands are indeed complementary, will Honor smartphones also get top-notch innovations that are present on Huawei handsets?

I have a feeling that we'll know the answers to these questions soon enough -- as the battle for smartphone market supremacy rages on in our country.

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