Honor confirms Google’s apps will return to its phones with new 50 series

The Honor 50 series will be able to ship with Google’s apps and services, Honor officially announced today as it launched the Honor 50 and Honor 50 Pro in China. In a statement, Honor says its phones will go through Google’s security review and that “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,” the company said. A spokesperson confirmed that the “Honor devices” referred to in the statement include the newly announced Honor 50. The device will be available for preorder in China on June 25th and will come to international markets such as France, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and the UK at a later date at a price that’s to be announced.

“Consumers will be able to experience HONOR smartphones and tablets equipped with GMS”

Honor hasn’t been able to ship Google’s apps and services, including the Google Play Store, on its phones since its former parent company Huawei was placed on the US’s entity list, forcing Google to pull its Android license. What’s changed with the 50 series is that Huawei sold off Honor at the end of last year, allowing the company to work with Google once again. Huawei, meanwhile, is still unable to use Google’s software and is positioning its own HarmonyOS as a replacement.

Reports about the return of Google’s software to Honor’s phones emerged last month, after the company’s German Twitter leaked the news in a now-deleted tweet.

Turning to the devices themselves, the most eye-catching thing about the Honor 50 and Honor 50 Pro are their rear cameras, which are arranged into a pair of circular bumps. The phones have four rear cameras in total, including a 100-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle, a 2-megapixel macro, and a 2-megapixel depth camera. On the front, the Honor 50 Pro has a pair of selfie cameras, combining a 32-megapixel camera with a 12-megapixel ultrawide, while the Honor 50 just has a single 32-megapixel camera.

Both phones have a 120Hz display, though the Honor 50 Pro’s is slightly bigger at 6.72 inches compared to 6.57 for the regular Honor 50. Available colors include silver, bronze, green, and black. Internally, they’re powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor. The 50 Pro has a 4,000mAh battery that can be fast charged at up to 100W, while the regular 50 has a 4,300mAh battery and supports 66W fast charging.

The return of Google’s software to Honor’s phones is unlikely to make much of a difference in China, where phones typically ship without the Play Store. But their absence has made Honor and Huawei’s phones pretty hard to recommend elsewhere. When the Honor 50 eventually releases in the West, that could all change.

In China, the Honor 50 will start at 2,699 yuan (around $422), while the Honor 50 Pro will start at 3,699 yuan (around $578). Alongside the two flagship phones, Honor is also announcing the cheaper Honor 50 SE, which will start at 2,399 yuan (around $375).

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