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Huawei Launched Honor 8 in US, Distribution Channel Bottleneck Remains

by Linda Sui | Aug 17, 2016

Huawei (Honor) hosted Honor 8 launch event in San Francisco on Aug 16. Our analysts from Wireless Smartphone Strategies (WSS) services attend the event with over two hundred media and industry attendees. 

Honor 8 was launched in China in July and has achieved healthy demand in home market. Huawei is formally bringing the model to US market, which Honor view as one of key overseas markets standing out together with India, Russia and West Europe. Young people is the main segment Honor brand target. Huawei signed in Brooklyn Beckham as global brand ambassador and put more resources on branding and marketing.

Like P9, photography / camera is one of key differentiators for Honor 8. It features 12MP dual rear cameras with dual RGB lenses, dual Sony IMX286 sensors and dual ISP. It also support LTE-A, VoLTE, USB Type C, NFC, and fingerprint sensor (enhanced security and faster respond time). Huawei improved EUI with smart key feature, which allows users to set up and customize one step access to app / shortcut via typing fingerprint sensor. 4GB RAM + 32GB ROM is priced at US$399.99 (full retail price, without subsidies), 4GB + 64GB version is priced at US$449.99. 

Preorder will start from Aug 17 to Sep 3. The phone will be sold as unlocked via Amazon, BestBuy, B&H and Newegg, as well as Honor official site.

Unsurprisingly, Huawei still primarily rely on open channel to sell smartphones in US, where carriers still dominate the market with 60% share at this moment. Unlocked segment is rising quickly in US market over the past two years thanks to subsidy shift and removal, but we don't expect it will outweigh carrier channel anytime soon. Huawei posted tiny market share (lower than 1%) in US smartphone market during Q2 2016, lagging far behind Samsung and Apple, also trailing after ZTE, TCL-Alcatel and Lenovo-Motorola etc. Channel bottleneck without operators endorsement is one of key issues behind the lackluster performance. We don't expect Honor 8 would turn around quickly as channel bottleneck still remains

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