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China's top smartphone player Honor launches first flip foldable phone in challenge to Samsung

Honor
  • Honor on Thursday launched its first flip foldable phone as the Chinese electronics maker looks to step up its challenge in the high-end market against major players like Samsung.
  • The Honor Magic V Flip will be available in China only, for now, with the company talking up the camera and artificial intelligence capabilities.
  • Honor has pushed for aggressive growth since being spun off from Huawei in 2020 to avoid U.S. sanctions.

Honor on Thursday launched its first flip foldable phone as the Chinese electronics maker looks to step up its challenge in the high-end market against major players like Samsung.

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The Honor Magic V Flip will be available in China only, for now, with the company talking up the camera and artificial intelligence capabilities.

In the first quarter of 2024, Honor was the biggest smartphone player in China by market share, according to International Data Corporation.

The brand has pushed for aggressive growth since being spun off from Huawei in 2020 to avoid U.S. sanctions. Since then, it has launched a number of high-end phones in a bid to challenge the likes of Apple and Samsung on the global stage.

The term "foldables" refers to smartphones with displays that bend. There are two styles right now on the market — smartphones that fold like a book and those that fold vertically like an old school flip phone but without a visible hinge.

Honor already has a book-style foldable on the market called the Magic V2. The Magic V Flip is its first vertically-folding phone.

CNBC first reported in February that an Honor flip phone was going to launch this year.

Having both types of foldable smartphones gives Honor a stronger foothold in the market. The global foldable market grew 49% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2024, faster than the overall smartphone market.

The Magic V Flip will go up against similar devices from the likes of Oppo, Vivo and Samsung.

Honor touted the AI capabilities on the phone, which has become a big talking point for device makers, as they look to differentiate their handsets from rivals.

The Chinese firm said there is a feature called Honor AI Portrait Engine which brings an improvement in image quality to pictures with a blurred background.

While the Magic V Flip is only launching in China, Honor has often brought a lot of its devices to international markets.

Copyright CNBC
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