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Honor CEO George Zhao says talks with Google are underway to resume partnership

By Nadeem Sarwar January 28, 2021, 12:18 pm
Honor George Zhao

Reeling from sanctions imposed by the US government, HUAWEI sold its Honor sub-brand to a government-backed consortium in November last year, in hopes of giving it a fighting chance in the face of multiple trade restrictions. Not long after, Honor signed crucial deals with some big names such as AMD, MediaTek, Microsoft, Samsung, and Sony that could again open the doors for sourcing components and software solutions. However, access to Google’s services is of critical importance for the company, especially if it hopes to revive its smartphone business in international markets. However, Honor CEO George Zhao has indicated that the company might soon get its partnership with Google back on track

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“Last week, alongside a new smartphone, Honor announced that it was resuming partnerships with the biggest semiconductor companies in the world, including Intel and AMD, as well as Qualcomm, the largest smartphone chip designer. Zhao even said the company is in talks with Google and expects to resume its partnership with the company,” says an SCMP report. “While the company has not confirmed whether it will have GMS outside China, Honor could be waiting for confirmation that Google will once again support its phones.”

Honor might be awaiting Google's nod to bring back GMS on its phones

Another report from a Russian publication earlier this week mentioned that Google Mobile Services (GMS) will likely make a comeback on Honor smartphones around spring. What this means is Honor smartphone buyers will soon be able to access Google services such as Maps, Gmail, YouTube – and most importantly – Play Store, on their device. Restrictions imposed on Google when it comes to maintaining ties with Honor were supposed to become void as the company is no longer owned or affiliated to HUAWEI.

HUAWEI and Honor shipments have registered a steep decline

Following its split with HUAWEI, the company launched a high-end  5G phone called Honor V40 in China, but details about the device’s overseas debut with access to Google services are still unclear. In the wake of the US government’s trade sanctions, HUAWEI’s smartphone shipments registered a drop of 21.5% in 2020, while the Q4 2020 decline stood at a massive 42.4% (IDC). While the future looks bright for Honor, the fate of HUAWEI still hangs in the balance, as the company doesn’t expect immediate measures of relief from the freshly elected Joe Biden government in the US.

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