Honor shrugs off Google restrictions with launch of new flagship phones

Huawei sub-brand Honor has launched two new flagship phones, just days after Google placed restrictions on its parent firm's use of Android services.

Smartphone brand Honor has launched two new flagship devices in the UK, just days after its parent company Huawei was hit with new restrictions in the US that could seriously impact its ability to access key mobile apps and technologies.

The firm introduced its new Honor 20 and Honor 20 Pro at an event in London that was scheduled long before the recent moves, which have seen Google restricting access to key mobile services for future models, including the Google Play store, Maps, G Suite and YouTube apps. 

However, Honor did not let this spoil the launch party for its latest flagships, with the brand’s president George Zhao saying the new devices follow the firm’s ethos of “always better in everything we do”. 

He highlighted key features of the devices, including the “professional-grade camera” and “wondrous Dynamic Holographic design” that offers a large 6.26-inch display, with a hole-punch cutout for the front-facing camera, making for a screen-to-body ratio of 91.7 per cent.

The phones promise to offer premium features without the premium price tag, as has long been the case with the Honor brand, which aims for the mid-market segment. Prices for the Honor 20 will start at £399.99 for a device with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and go up to around £525 for the 20 Pro – though official UK prices are yet to be confirmed for this model. 

Honor has also stressed that the Honor 20 and 20 Pro will not be affected by the current dispute between Huawei and the US government and will continue to offer all the apps users expect, as they had already been certified by Google prior to the restrictions. While they may not get major platform upgrades to the next version of Android, they will continue to receive security updates from the manufacturer.

However, with uncertainty about the future of the brand and its relationship with Android remaining, it will be interesting to see whether this puts off potential customers who are in the market for a mid-range phone with flagship features, especially given competition from the likes of the new OnePlus 7 Pro.

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