Counterpoint Conversations: HONOR’s AI Strategy – Articulating the Vision, Communicating to Consumers

HONOR’s MWC profile has developed strongly over the last few years. In 2024, HONOR saw its biggest MWC launch since spinning off from Huawei more than three years ago. The brand has come a long way and is now trying to navigate the difficult terrain of making on-device GenAI look compelling.

AI has been a recurring theme across most of the tech sector this year and is something smartphone OEMs have kicked off in earnest – yet few have articulated the strategy or end-user benefits in depth.

However, HONOR has been one of the exceptions. Counterpoint’s Research VP Peter Richardson met up with HONOR CMO Ray Guo at the MWC to get his take on innovation, openness, and how these two areas fit into the company’s broader AI strategy.

The Interview

Key Takeaways from the Discussion:

Creating a new ecosystem: Open ecosystem enabled by ‘platform level’ AI.

  • “We are not using AI as an application level, but more like using AI capability to step change, to rewrite the whole operating system.”
  • Coupling this with the focus on collaboration makes them more open, broadening areas of innovation.
  • More innovative, more collaborative – this is going to be HONOR’s competitive advantage.

Striking Key partnerships:

  • Android, Microsoft.
  • Intel, NVIDIA, Qualcomm.
  • Porsche Design Magic V2 RSR – slimmest flagship foldable.

AI benefits to end-consumers

  • GenAI and LLM capabilities accelerating – and HONOR is rebuilding, rewriting the whole technology stack on OS. This means:
  • More seamless collaboration across devices.
  • More fluent interaction as shown by the Intent-based UI (IUI).
  • This is the ‘Magic’ that is being communicated to the consumer.

Analyst Take

  • HONOR’s IUI is a logical way forward, but its on-stage demonstrations were not convincing, at least not yet.
  • And there is much more to HONOR’s new devices than the GenAI features, camera functions being the most obvious. Here, HONOR is in safer territory, with strong performance from its prior devices that are already well-recognized.
  • HONOR stands a good chance of making further market share progress in Europe during 2024 but it will not be easy. There is stiff competition from the likes of OPPO and Xiaomi. And of course, Apple and Samsung remain strong rivals with Samsung’s own GenAI features better communicated.
  • On-device GenAI messaging is important, which we believe was a significant factor in the Galaxy S24’s success in Western Europe, where the model saw a 28% bump during the first three weeks of availability. There will be a lot of competition going forward and numerous opportunities as well.

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Counterpoint research is a young and fast growing research firm covering analysis of the tech industry. Coverage areas are connected devices, digital consumer goods, software & applications and other adjacent topics. We provide syndicated research reports as well as tailored. Our seminars and workshops for companies and institutions are popular and available on demand. Consulting and customized work on the above topics is provided for high precision projects.

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