Honor announced the European launch of its Holly smartphone, accompanied by an unusual pricing promotion designed to boost engagement with “fans”, as part of an ambitious plan to become a “leading brand in the Android world”.
Speaking at an event in London today, Lars-Christian Weisswange from the Huawei subsidiary said that customers can register their (non-binding) interest in the device, with the number of registrations driving the price of the smartphone.
The base price for the UK is £109.99 and for other European markets €139.99, although this will come down for those pre-registering, and then buying the device during a four-day period following its 23 February launch. The company did not say how low the pricing could go.
“So far, I’ve never seen something like this before, and we believe the engagement will be really, really huge,” he said.
In terms of specifications, the device, which was described as “a very nice entry into the world of Honor”, is solid, if unspectacular. It has a 5.0-inch HD screen, 8MP front and 2MP rear cameras, 16GB of storage, microSD expansion slot, 1.3GHz quadcore processor, and dual-SIM support.
A version of the device has already been offered in some other markets, including India, where Economic Times said more than 10,000 units were sold in the 10 hours directly following its launch. A Chinese version has also been available.
As with rivals such as Xiaomi, OnePlus and ZTE’s Nubia line, Honor is looking to build a community of “fans” among “digital natives”, via social channels. It has launched Honor Club as “the melting point for all our fans”, offering invitations to fan parties, participation in events, and enabling users to “beta” test new software releases.
“The foundation for us in this new business model is that we turn the b2c model upside down – we want to put the customer at the centre,” Weisswange said.
The executive also said that 30 million Honor devices were shipped in 2014, with launches taking place in more than 60 countries.
“This show how quick this market is developing, and how quick you can establish a new brand from the ground,” he said.
The company launched its European efforts in October 2014, and much was made of the company celebrating its “100 days” – although it would have been more surprising if the Huawei-backed company had not made it this far.