HONOR has confirmed that it is working on a 5G smartphone of its own and that the company is expected to launch in the second half of the year. This was confirmed by the company's President, George Zhao, during a group interview in Paris, according to the source. He also added that "when and which model" depends on the operators' infrastructure and progress, which makes sense, as there's no point in releasing a 5G smartphone in a region where 5G is not available.
Now, the "where" part probably also refers to both Huawei's and HONOR's situation in the US, as Huawei is facing a 13-count indictment in the States, so Huawei and HONOR probably won't be looking to push their way to the US market again anytime soon, but Europe will probably be one of the first regions the company's 5G-enabled smartphone will arrive to.
It is also worth noting that the US issues also affected Huawei's dealings with other countries, both Australia and New Zealand banned Huawei's telecommunications equipment for 5G, and Japan could do the same in the near future, so things are not looking as bright for Huawei in terms of 5G as the company had hoped, at least in some markets, but that could change.
George Zhao did not exactly release any specific information regarding the upcoming 5G handset, except for the fact that it is coming in the second half of the year, so we do not really know what to expect in terms of the design and specs. That device will almost certainly be high-end, though, and it will probably be a part of a new lineup of devices, or perhaps a rehashed existing device with added 5G capabilities, which is possible.
The Honor 20 is expected to arrive in mid-2019, probably in May, as HONOR's second flagship of 2019, following in the View20's footsteps. Now, HONOR may opt to make a 5G variant of either the View20 or HONOR 20, and be done with it, or the company may opt to create a completely new device in order to usher in 5G, it remains to be seen.
5G fueled by the HiSilicon Kirin 985?
You have probably noticed that rumors regarding the Kirin 985 have been popping up for a while now, as the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro are still rumored to arrive with that chip. Well, Huawei may or may not release that processor, as the Kirin 980 supports 5G via external models, so both Huawei and HONOR can simply use the Kirin 980 and add modems in order to create a 5G smartphone, which is probably what will happen.
The Kirin 985 was rumored a couple of times as a slightly more powerful variant of the Kirin 980, mainly due to its clock speed, and considering that Huawei released only one flagship processor in a single year, for the last couple of years, it will probably stick with the Kirin 980, even though the company did release two flagship iterations in the past, so doing the same now would not exactly be a huge surprise.