Last year, Samsung held a splashy Broadway-themed event to announce its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone.
Some called it sexist. Some called it dumb. Some called it a nice break from the standard mold of tech companies spewing out a new device’s specs and features in a dull, hour-long presentation.
No matter what you thought of that presentation, it sounds like Samsung is going to tone it down this year when it unveils its new flagship phone, the Galaxy S5, at a press event on February 24 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The New York Times reports that the Galaxy S5 event won’t be as glitzy as what we saw last year. (I’ve heard the same.) The Times also said the phone probably won’t have some previously reported whiz-bang features like an eye scanner and a very high resolution screen.
But don’t let the dour Times report make you think the Galaxy S5 is going to stink.
Last year’s Galaxy S4 unveiling left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. And that messaging trickled into some of the early reviews of the phone when it launched a few weeks later. Even I thought the Galaxy S4 was packed with too many confusing features like eye tracking and touchless gestures to be appealing. But the Galaxy S4 is still a good phone. Maybe not the best phone, but definitely not a dud.
It seems like Samsung has learned its lesson. Last fall, it launched its Galaxy Note 3 phablet and Galaxy Gear smart watch at a much more traditional event. The Galaxy Note 3 got much more positive reviews than the Galaxy S4 did, even though it does most of the same stuff, just on a bigger screen. (The Galaxy Gear, unfortunately for Samsung, wasn’t the best product, so reviews were overwhelmingly unkind.)
That’s a good sign for the Galaxy S5. As good as Samsung’s products are, its messaging on launch days has been off. A toned-down press unveiling that explains clearly what the phone can do and how it’s useful is much more useful than the circus we saw last year.