All of China is on the cusp – and Honor CEO thinks the rest of the world is ready too

Honor is planning its second foldable release next year, and unlike the Honor Magic V, the company is hoping to actually launch the device outside of China. CEO Emeritus, George Zhao, confirmed the plans in an interview with the edge ahead of this year’s IFA trade fair in Berlin and said the company expects to launch its next foldable device in the first quarter of next year.

“We have made a decision that next year, in the first quarter, we will bring our latest foldable smartphone to international markets,” Zhao said, “including Europe.” The CEO did not confirm any details or details of the new device, but he noted that Honor’s main focus areas for foldable devices are making it thinner, lighter and more affordable.

A release in the first quarter of next year will come about a year after Honor launched its first foldable device, the Honor Magic V. The company is one of several Chinese smartphone brands that have recently launched foldable devices, along with the likes of Oppo’s Find N, devices Xiaomi’s Mix Fold, and Huawei’s Mate X devices.

However, a surprisingly large percentage of these devices have remained exclusive to the Chinese market. In the West, only Samsung and Huawei have made foldable payments, and it can be said that only Samsung devices are worth considering; Huawei continues to be sold without Google apps and services as a result of ongoing US sanctions. The result is that Chinese customers simply have a wide range of foldable devices to choose from.

Honor Magic V is available exclusively in China.
Photo: Honor

When I asked Zhao why Honor and other brands are prioritizing China for foldable devices, he said that a much larger percentage of popular apps in the country are optimized for foldable devices. That’s because China has a unique Android app market dominated by home-grown apps like WeChat, and it also has its own version of TikTok (called Douyin) in the country. The situation facilitates collaboration with developers to improve their implementations of new form factors.

“We have a very good relationship with [China-based] “App Providers” explains Zhao, who says this relationship means developers are willing to work with Honor to improve their apps for foldable devices. Unlike the rest of the world, where users download Android apps from the global Google Play Store, users in China can access them via a number of app stores dedicated to the market.

But with Google’s recent initiatives to improve the Android experience on large-screen devices, Zhao believes international markets are catching up. For starters, Google recently released Android 12L, a new version of its mobile operating system optimized for tablets and foldable devices. It’s also working on improving its own apps for larger screens and says it’s working with third-party developers to improve the experience of using apps like TikTok, Zoom and Facebook. “Google is making a lot of effort in this direction,” Zhao says.

One place Honor still does not plan to sell its folds is the United States. Although the company entered the US market half a decade ago, it is currently focusing its limited resources on regions such as Europe, where it has a greater current presence and experience.

In the near future, Honor continues to build a family of devices across a number of different product categories. Today saw the global launch of its latest mid-range smartphone, Honor 70 (see full review here), along with a new tablet and laptop. The first is the 12-inch Honor Pad 8 tablet, which was launched in China earlier this year, and there is also the 14-inch MagicBook 14 laptop, which is powered by the 12th generation Intel Core H-series processor and can be chosen Using an Nvidia RTX 2050 GPU.

After years of seeing the international market for foldable devices dominated by Samsung, next year we may finally see some real competition. Well, as long as the CEOs of other tech brands in China are similarly impressed by Google’s efforts to improve support for Android apps for tablets and foldable devices.

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