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Huawei's gaming smartphone Honor Play launches in Southeast Asia

The Honor Play smartphone has launched in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines with price-competitive specs and partnerships with popular game titles PUBG and Asphalt 9 to boot.

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The Honor Play in action Image: Aloysius Low/CNET

Honor, Huawei's subsidiary smartphone brand, has officially launched its game-centric Honor Play smartphone in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, the company has announced at a launch event in Kuala Lumpur.

The smartphone is heavily marketed for gaming and will be priced at MYR1249 (around $300) in Malaysia, SG$429 in Singapore, and PHP15,990 in the Philippines.

It comes with the company's GPU Turbo that it said improves graphics processing efficiency by 60 percent, while single frame SoC power consumption is reduced by 30 percent. Honor said the feature will allow "gamers to play harder, smoother, and longer" on the phone.

Honor Play also supports 30 different scenarios where the phone will vibrate during gameplay. It has surround sound with Histen 3D audio and an "ultra-wide" 3D sound field.

The company has also partnered with popular game titles PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9, a battle royale-style shooting game and a car-racing game, respectively.

The handset packs very high performance specs comparative to its low pricetag and is similar to the Honor 10 launched earlier. It has Huawei's latest AI-dedicated flagship Kirin 970 NPU chipset, a 19.5:9 ratio 6.3-inch ISP LCD, and its own EMUI 8.2 interface. It also carries a dual rear camera (16 megapixel and 2 megapixel) and a 3,750 mAh battery.

Huawei surpassed Apple in smartphone shipments in the second quarter, according to IDC, and is now globally runner-up to Samsung.

The Chinese tech giant's revenue grew by 15 percent to 325.7 billion yuan ($47.8 billion) over the first half of 2018.

The Honor brand recorded a 150 percent increase in international sales outside of China in the same period, the company said. It had brand recognition of 58 percent in Malaysia and its Honor 10 was the fastest-selling phone for local online retailer Shopee, it added.

Mobile gaming is growing fast in Singapore, Malaysia, and Philippines, the company said. Singapore has seen smartphone penetration of 121 percent and near half of the 5.7 million population play mobile games. Malaysia has over 4.92 million mobile game players, while its mobile game market was $238 million last year and is growing on average 8 percent per year. In the Philippines, the market is estimated to be growing 8.2 percent per year and is predicted to reach $175 million by 2021.

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