back to article Honor bound: Can Huawei's self-cannibalisation save the phone biz?

Huawei's decision to cannibalise its own sales with cheaper Primark versions of its own products (branded "Honor") is perhaps the only interesting thing in the phone business right now. airplane goes down in flames Peak smartphone? Phone fatigue hits Western Europe hard READ MORE Sales of new phones fell 29 per cent in the …

  1. Danny 5

    New phone

    I just got my new phone yesterday and as I've been saying for quite some time, it's a Nokia 8.

    It "only" has 64GB, but has an SD slot. the display is downright gorgeous and it's speed can only be described as 'blinding". I paid 439 euros for it, which I think is an absolute bargain. I'm pretty sure it can compete with Huawei's honor devices (did I say compete? I'm fairly sure it trounces it in almost every way). Now to plan the long awaited destruction of my Lumia 950......... I just need to be sure I managed to get all my important stuff off it. That's actually one final nightmare of the device, getting your crap off it is extremely hard, because it refuses to stay tethered to my laptop while connected through USB.

    No such issues with the Nokia, plug is and go (for everything so far actually).

    1. Named coward

      Re: New phone

      Nokia 8 64GB costs about 100€ less from a popular online retailer...

      1. Danny 5

        Re: New phone

        It's a company sponsored device, so I didn't have a choice of reseller ;)

        I pay it from my gross salary and I have a phone budget, so in all it's costing me around 200 euros :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why do people fall for the old "Nokia" brand?

      Why do people fall for the old "Nokia" brand, even if the company behind the new "Nokia" is just an asian company.

      All these lemmings...

      Why not use a Android phone from reputable brands from countries like Japan, South Korea, and NOT from China (new "Nokia", Huawei, Donor, OnePlus, ZTE). Or do you want a backdoor?

      Anyway, a 4,8 to 5" high-end smartphone is big enough, with a SD-Card slot and a good camera - costs $300 to $500. I cannot understand those who choose a 5,5" or bigger phone. Are you carrying a bag??

      1. Slef

        Re: Why do people fall for the old "Nokia" brand?

        No Bag but my eyesight is most probably worse than yours! And I do not wear skinny jeans :-)

      2. Danny 5

        Re: Why do people fall for the old "Nokia" brand?


        I'm well aware that it's actually an HMD global device, but Nokia fans hold the brand to a certain standard. It doesn't really matter who the company that actually builds the device is, when it has the Nokia tag, we expect a certain design and a certain suite of features. It's only been two days, but so far my new phone has delivered. When Microsoft brought out Lumias that were still branded Nokia they were awesome too, it wasn't until the first Microsoft branded Lumia that it all fell apart.

        So go ahead, insult me for being a "lemming", I don't really give a shit. I'm perfectly happy with my device and will gladly go Nokia again in the future.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why do people fall for the old "Nokia" brand?

          > "When Microsoft bought out Lumias that were still branded Nokia they were awesome too"

          Nokia was #1 cell phone maker before smartphones (iPhone and Android) era. Back when mono-chrome screens and later with Symbian OS. But then in 2009 iPhone and in 2010 Android happend. And Nokia was still betting on Symbian and toyed around with Linux (N90). And Microsoft used their EEE strategy to take over Nokia. They infiltrated Nokia with their trojan horse Mr. Stephen Elop who single handed destroyed billions of dollars and a big part of Nokia including the Nokia brand. And allowed Microsoft to buy the company segment for cheap. But thank god it turned out not as they hoped. Their plan failed completely. People are not that stupid after all. Windows Phone 6.5 had almost 20% market share back in early iPhone days, but M$ dumped it for a completely new incompatible Windows Phone 7, and later 8, 8.1, 10. And Nokia and the WinPhone/WinMobile brands died, with market share never surpassing 2% international market share.

          And now a cheap Chinese company bought the Nokia brand, and not so intelligent consumers, that are still brainwashed from the 1990s Nokia days, again buy "Nokia" phones in 2018. *Palmface*

          What's next? In 2019, such consumer will buy "new Blackberry" from a chinese company that bought the brand, after BlackBerry will probably go south in late 2018. Senile retro loving elder consumer these days.

          1. Danny 5

            Re: Why do people fall for the old "Nokia" brand?

            I'm sorry to disappoint your obviously superior intellect.


  2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Services and convenience

    Networks used to hawk phones to pimp their technology: SMS, MMS, 3G, GPS, etc. It then used to use new phones to pimp renewals as way of keeping ARPU up. Now that so many of us have phones that are good enough, the codependency no longer makes sense. This should cause networks to start pimping their services as T-Mobile had done in the US by partnering with providers to promote an "unlimited" service with lower bandwidth. We'll see more of this with vertical integration and deals providing the cross and upselling for higher margins.

    There's still money to be made in handsets, as the volume of high-end sales shows, but as the article points out, manufacturers may have to compete against themselves to make sure they get the customer.

    There's still a lot of room for technological advances in handsets: better battery life, screens that cope better with ambient light, foldable, etc. but this may mean the risk of fragmenting the market. Still the ubiquity of the modern mobile phone highlights its importanct and, hence, sustained demand. It just won't be driven by contract renewals.

    1. ARGO

      Re: Services and convenience

      >Networks used to hawk phones to pimp their technology: SMS, MMS, 3G, GPS, etc.

      It will soon be the other way around - turning off the old technology networks should drive phone sales nicely. And if you're on a SIM only contract, it's *your* problem when that old phone no longer works....

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Services and convenience

        And if you're on a SIM only contract, it's *your* problem when that old phone no longer works....

        A contract is still a contract, ie. one-sided changes by the networks can still be considered to be breaches of contract. But actually the networks are more constrained by the terms of the spectrum licences.

        1. ARGO

          Re: Services and convenience

          >But actually the networks are more constrained by the terms of the spectrum licences.

          Not in the UK - all mobile spectrum licenses are technology agnostic. The 2013 and 2018 licences were written that way; the older licenses were amended to bring them in line. And if you read your contract T&Cs, service is provided on the condition that you are using a compatible device.

          The way things look at the moment we are going to have most spectrum on 4G and 5G by 2025, with a rump left to support long term 2G contracts like smart metering and 4G phones that need a CS network for voice. 3G is expensive to run and spectrally inefficient compared to 4G, so likely to disappear completely in the UK.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    " but now consumers can choose their handset and their "airtime" separately. "

    I've been doing that for 2 decades, so not exactly "now"

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Hmmm

      Me too. But we used to be relatively rare exceptions, that's no longer the case.

  4. Tony W

    Obvious way to differentiate?

    Not long ago, nearly all cars more than a few years old were rusting away. Manufacturers thought that the buyers of new cars disposed of them after at most two years, so their customers wouldn't worry about obsolescence. Then Japanese makers introduced long non-rust guarantees and ran away with the market, until the rest followed.

    Now almost all phones more than a few years old are a significant security risk. Who will be first to sell phones with guaranteed updates for five years, at a competitive price?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obvious way to differentiate?

      That's exactly what I'm waiting for. I don't want to buy a phone without that guarantee or pay a silly price.

    2. Charles King

      Re: Obvious way to differentiate?

      Updates for five years?

      Ok, I'm going to be *that guy* and point out that the latest 11.3 version of iOS runs (barely) on the 5S, a phone released in Sept 2013. So not quite 5 years yet, but close. Fruit-huggers always manage to be subtly irritating, but updates are one area where Cupertino has always managed to blow the green bot out of the park.

      1. Mr Han

        Re: Obvious way to differentiate?

        "Ok, I'm going to be *that guy* and point out that the latest 11.3 version of iOS runs (barely) on the 5S"

        I recently replaced my rooted Galaxy S2 which, over the past 6-7 years, I've upgraded from Android 4.0 through to 7.1.2 (ICS to Nougat).

        It still works lovely as a backup/pub/beach phone, lasts for several days with a spare battery, has regular updates to Lineage OS (Oreo, 8.1.0 is available), AND I can still purchase spare batteries for under £10. It also fits in my front jeans pocket.

        As for my current mobile, it does all I need. I've just ordered a spare battery to get roughly 6 days out of it, it also fits in my pocket, and I can choose from a number of custom ROMs to completely alter the look and feel. All for under £140.

        So although official updates are slow, a rooted Android will allow updates far beyond what is officially available.

    3. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: Obvious way to differentiate?

      how about a daylight readable screen FFS. Only Sony Experia get close in my experience. Dell should re-release an updated version of its 5 inch Streak. Still many around doing great service as backup flight instruments in rec and glider aircraft. You can see them in bright daylight as the screen is transflective. Instant differentiation and better battery life.

  5. gskr

    Picked up the larger Honor view 10 when it was on sale for £339 - almost the same internals as this one (same chipset and 128Gb storage, but has 6Gb RAM and MicroSD support, and no stupid notch)

    Very impressed indeed, and still very happy with the purchase even having not waited for the Honor 10 (or Nokia 7+, which I was also considering).

    This new Honor 10 seems to slightly undercut the current price of the View10, is styled differently, but chipset/camera wise is the same, so is a great alternative + has a notch, shiny back and under-screen sensor if you're into those things!

    I can see these selling very well indeed!

  6. James 51

    Second time at posting this comment.

    The competition for this is the S8 at £418 on amazon, not the likes of the S9.

  7. Milton

    Lemmings stuck in the copycat rut (of ruthlessly mixed metaphors)

    "Fallen stars like Sony and HTC can barely differentiate their flagships from anyone else's these days"

    This innova-constipation will continue, with growing consumer boredom and consequent saggy sales, until some of the big players grow a pair and decide to stop slavishly following Apple's tired and frankly stupid candy-bar design. (You could almost wonder if Apple and the rest want to keep making eyewateringly expensive screen replacements. It's stupid and unnecessary to have the display glass exposed to every accident; and it's always been stupid and unnecessary.)

    Display, battery and CPU tech have easily reached the point where a flagship smartphone could hit the market in the flip-/clamshell form factor. Instead of phones swelling to uncomfortable sizes to accommodate large screen areas, they could be sensibly pocketable with nice big colourful hi-res displays tucked away safely inside the fold, with all sorts of versatile use cases available on an app by app basis. (The advent of truly bezel-less screens is simply crying out for this.) Outside, you have a low-power Gorilla'd-up status/notification supplementary display, maybe even an e-ink type system so that you could switch off the inner display (and most of the cores) entirely for low-power mode when you want to use the thing for calls only.

    We may not quite be ready to build Westworld's sexy unfolding tablets, but the advantages of a return to the clam seem more compelling than ever.

    1. IsJustabloke

      Re: Lemmings stuck in the copycat rut (of ruthlessly mixed metaphors)


      "It's stupid and unnecessary to have the display glass exposed to every accident;"

      never owned an Apple device, never suffered a broken screen. coincidence? I think not.

    2. James 51

      Re: Lemmings stuck in the copycat rut (of ruthlessly mixed metaphors)

      The Chinese market is dominated by large screen phones. That is why Apple finally broke with Steve Jobs UI rules and made a big screen iphone. I think it will take folding/flexible screen/battery technology to really take off or something deciding not to care about the Chinese market to do anything different.

  8. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    hundreds of media queued in a crush

    So people are media now, rather than being employed by the media?

  9. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I've got a phone.

    It's 3G. And it makes calls. Which is all i;ve wanted it to do.

    I've had it many years, and it hasn't broken yet.

    When it does, I will look for another phone at about the £20 mark...

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: I've got a phone.

      People's "phone" needs vary widely.

      I've had my Nexus for 3 years now, and have made a sum total of 4 calls on it. Indeed, my T-Mobile SIM has a limit of 100 minutes a month. For me, it's a constantly-connected PDA, camera, and navigation system.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What I need a phone for:

    Phone calls (surprise, surprise)


    Occasional snap (I have a DSLR for photography)

    Play MP3s

    Occasional surf

    £100 will get me all that when my Moto G 4G finally dies, less than the price of a replacement screen for an expensive phone.

  11. YARR

    Captive honor

    I hear the Honor has a captive market.... or is that just their workers?

  12. Sirius Lee

    When the journalists lose the plot

    £400 is not cheap. That's £400 not £399 - let's not play that game. A Porche looks cheap when you compare it to a Rolls Royce but not so cheap when you compare it with a Kia Rio. Again, £400 is not cheap and its disingenuous to suggest that spending that much on a phone is a value deal. In no universe is that true just because Samsung and Apple have found people who are willing to pay a huge idiot tax. It's a shame that journalists can be lead to support the notion that £400 is good value just because there are even more hideously expensive phones a person could purchase. The saying "A fool and their money are easily parted" seems apt.

    If people want to spend that much money, why not buy a genuinely cheap phone and give the difference to a charity where it will do some good instead of giving it to wealthy shareholders?

    1. Dabooka

      Re: When the journalists lose the plot

      So what are you running?

      Personally I agree, I wouldn't pay £400 for a phone either, but not everyone is me. My WileyFox Swift 2 was sub £200 and is still going strong; I would have happily purchased another when the time comes but alas it looks like that won't be an option. I also ran a £50 Elephone once for a few months and good though it was for the money, no way could it compared alongside more expensive handsets.

      But ultimately £400 IS cheap compared to £800-£900, you can't deny that. If someone buys it with a view of 2-3 years it's still cheaper than most bundled carrier offers without the burden of a tie in.

  13. Lars Silver badge

    HMD global

    HMD Global Oy, branded as HMD, is a Finnish mobile phone company, made up of the mobile phone business that Nokia had sold to Microsoft in 2014, then bought back in 2015. The HMD Oy (limited company) began marketing smartphones and feature phones under the Nokia brand on 1 December 2016, the firm develops and markets. The company has exclusive rights to the brand for mobile phones through a licensing agreement. It was created by inheriting Microsoft Mobile's feature phone business, which was sold by Nokia in 2014. They are in a "close partnership" with Google and use the Android software on their smartphones, whereas on their feature phones the Series 30+ platform is mainly used.[ The HMD brand is only used for corporate purposes and does not appear in advertising, whereas the name Nokia Mobile is used on social media.

    HMD is headquartered in Espoo, opposite Nokia's head office, and the company is largely run by former Nokia executives. The first CEO was Arto Nummela, a Nokia veteran for 17 years, until July 2017 when President Florian Seiche took over as CEO. Manufacturing is outsourced to Foxconn. Nokia has no investment in HMD but remains a partner, setting mandatory requirements and providing patents and technologies, in return for royalty payments. HMD use a marketing strategy advertising the Nokia phones as "pure, secure and up to date" (referring to a stock Android interface and its commitment to fast updates) as well as brand trust and nostalgia.

    Or is this information old ( last edited on 17 May 2018, at 04:29.)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor event, didn't care about anyone that won a ticket.

    "Honor isn't just cheap in the sense of low prices. Its launches are a bit of a shambles..."

    Sadly have to agree with this. Honor UK recently ran competitions with XDA-Developers & Modaco forums for people to win tickets to the event. Only nobody received any tickets or details about the event until the day before. Massive confusion when trying to enter the event as none of the reception staff knew anything about any competitions being held, then being told that none of the competition winners are eligable to receive a gift bag - despite this being promised by Honor during the competition, and members of Honor Facebook communities receiving gifts.

    Then we were just left to fend for ourselves. At no point did we have any Honor representatives meet us. It all seemed like a massive waste of time.

    As somebody commented in a group chat, the whole competition thing was a complete afterthought. Left a lot of people disappointed.

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