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New Honor 50 phones will support Google’s Android apps

Updated Jun 17th, 2021 4:43AM EDT
Honor 50 Pro
Image: Huawei

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Former Huawei subsidiary Honor announced on Wednesday a phone that looks remarkably similar to the Android flagship that Huawei can’t yet launch, at least when it comes to rear camera design. Seen above, the Huawei P50 series was teased recently, with Huawei saying it’s working on making it available to buyers. The company hinted at the ongoing problems it has due to the US ban that doesn’t allow it to work with US tech companies like Google when creating devices like the Huawei P50 prototype. The ongoing chip shortage might further prevent Huawei from launching the kind of phone that should have been available in stores by now.

The sale of Honor last year is a direct consequence of Huawei being on America’s entity list. Honor has been making budget-friendly Android handsets for a number of years, including more affordable flagship options. But the US ban prevented the subsidiary from using Google’s apps on its handsets. Now that Honor is freed from Huawei, the company can resume using Google’s Android version in international markets, complete with Google apps. Honor confirmed that the Honor 50 Pro and Honor 50 would both support Google apps this year.

The Honor 50 design below is a clear copy of the P50 that Huawei teased, and that’s understandable given that the two companies worked closely at least until late last year. Some design similarities are to be expected for some time. But the Honor 50 isn’t a flagship handset like the P50. Not even the Honor 50 Pro.

Both devices run on Qualcomm’s mid-range Snapdragon 778G processor rather than the 888. Honor says in its announcement that the 778G chip is paired with its GPU Turbo X and Hunter Boost technologies to improve the phones’ speed and user experience. The 50 Pro also features VC liquid cooling and “high thermal conductivity graphene technology” to enhance heat dissipation.

Other than the processor, both handsets offer high-end features, including 120Hz hole-punch displays measuring 6.57-inch and 6.72-inch, respectively. Another highlight is the battery charging speed. The 50 Pro’s 4,000 mAh supports 100W charging, and the Honor 50 comes with a 4,300 mAh battery that recharges at a top rate of 66W. The Honor 50 needs 20 minutes to reach a 70% charge, while the 50 Pro gets to 90% during the same time.

Honor 50
Honor and Honor 50 Pro design. Image source: Honor

Huawei made a big deal about vlogging in the official Honor 50 announcement, saying that its camera and microphone setups will improve the user’s ability to capture content.

The handsets feature quad-lens cameras on the back placed in two distinct circular camera modules. One of them contains the primary 100-megapixel lens, and the other features the three additional lenses, including 8-megapixel wide-angle, 2-megapixel macro, and 2-megapixel depth cameras. The selfie cam experience varies depending on the model. The Honor 50 comes with a single 32-megapixel shooter, while the 50 Pro packs an additional 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera.

Google confirmed to The Verge that Honor 50 devices will go through Google’s security review, and “Honor devices will therefore have the option to have Google Mobile Services (“GMS”) preinstalled on compatible devices, in accordance with Google’s licensing and governance models.”

“Consumers will be able to experience Honor smartphones and tablets equipped with GMS,” Honor said, with a spokesperson confirming that the Honor 50 series is included in the list. This is a big deal for Honor, as it could help it sell more units in international markets where Android fans demand access to Google apps, especially the Play store.

The Honor 50 and 50 Pro will launch initially in China, starting at 2,699 yuan ($422) and 3,699 yuan ($578), respectively. Preorders begin on June 25th in the region, after which the handsets will launch in international markets.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.