Korean electronics giant Samsung, in a marked difference to its previous flagship launches, took the wraps of its new Galaxy S5 smartphone on Monday with no over-the-top flourishes that consmers,observers and analysts have come to expect.
The company also unveiled two new smartwatches and a wristband, which abandon Google's Android software for an open-source software called Tizen, demonstrating how the next battleground is indeed the wrist.
The changes in the positioning of the Galaxy S5, which comes a slightly bigger 5.1 inch screen and a fingerprint scanner, comes as low-cost Chinese and Indian rivals such as Gionee and Micromax have stepped up on the glitzy marketing and over-the-top features.
"Our consumers don't want eye-popping technology or the most complex technology. With the Galaxy S5, Samsung is going back to the basics," said J K Shin, President of Samsung's mobile business, while addressing reporters at the Mobile World Congress trade fair here.
"Customers instead want beautiful design, a better camera and faster connectivity," he added.
Samsung is instead focusing on more subtle improvements in the device, through accessories such as a heart rate monitor, and is avoiding a glitzy marketing approach a'la the Galaxy S4. The S5 also comes with water and dust protection and will ship on April 11 globally, though the pricing details are yet to be disclosed.
The company, which unveiled the Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch and a stripped-down sibling called the Gear 2 Neo, also rolled out the Gear Fit-- which focusses on the health sector.
Market analysts, however, believe that the whole "back to basics" approach by may not appeal to the public and could be viewed as a U-turn.
"Expectations are now increasing for Samsung. People expect them to be a lead in terms of innovation. If its just about replacing the current device with a more powerful one, its not going to be enough with consumers," said Thomas Husson, an analyst at Forrester Research.