Honor dives into AI with new 200 series phones — what we know

An Honor smartphone in hand.
(Image credit: Honor)

At VivaTech in Europe this week, Chinese phone manufacturer Honor announced the release date of its new 200 series phones and its own 4-layer AI architecture that will be used in the latest devices. 

The Honor 200 and 200 Pro, which will launch globally on June 12, will be the first devices from Honor with the new 4-layer generative AI. 

This is not Honor's first foray into AI. Earlier this year at MWC 2024, Honor showed off its MagicRing system, similar to Apple's Continuity feature. MagicRing allows users to use a phone as an additional window or as a tablet. Honor also showed off a tool they call Magic Portal, which tries to guess which app a user might want to share content through. 

The 4-layer AI architecture Honor announced works like this. The first layer is cross-device and cross-operating system AI that allows computing power and services to be shared among devices and operating systems. 

Level two is a platform AI that features intent-based human-computer interaction, which enables personalized operating systems and resource allocation. It sounds like upgraded versions of MagicRing and Magic Portal. 

The third layer of this architecture is app-focused and meant to encourage generative AI applications

The final and fourth layers are Cloud-AI services, which utilize the cloud to perform specific AI experiences. This is similar to how Google and OpenAI use the cloud to run Gemini and ChatGPT functions

The critical part of this announcement is the focus on on-device AI. Most prominent companies running AI are zoomed in on cloud services. On-device AI services tend to be separate tiny language models that do specific tasks. How robust will this 4-layer architecture be if cloud access is gone? 

"At HONOR, we firmly believe that, by combining the power of on-device AI's personalization, intuitiveness, and privacy protection, everyone can harness the full potential of AI safely and securely," said George Zhao, CEO of Honor, in a press release. "We are also delighted to forge ahead with Google Cloud, leveraging our combined expertise to unlock the potential of this hybrid approach, delivering even more seamless AI experiences to our users."

As part of the AI push, Honor also revealed a collaboration with Harcourt Studio. The Parisian photography studio is known for black-and-white portraiture. Honor claims that with this partnership, they have distilled the Harcourt Studio style into algorithms that the 200 series phones can replicate.

Honor claims to have broken the portrait photography process into nine distinct steps. This breakdown enables the 200 series phones to faithfully recreate the Harcourt method and promises studio-quality portraits.

Despite the Honor 200 and 200 Pro debuting in June, there isn't much out there in terms of specs. Even the pre-order page on Honor's Chinese website has nothing. We know that the phones will feature Magic OS 8.0, and one leak suggests that the phones will have a 50MP primary camera, but that's about it.

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.