Mobile World Congress 2015 is almost behind us, but the theme of the show wasn't what we expected. It wasn't about Cat 9 LTE, it wasn't about 5G, it wasn't even about USB type-C. It was about luxury.
MWC 2015 saw some notable launches. It perhaps wasn't as heavy with new product announcements as some previous years, but the message coming from all sides was pretty much the same.
LG, now looking like a veteran with smartwatches, kicked off by telling us that the LG Watch Urbane was about making something you want to wear first and foremost. It's about materials and its about quality, rather than the geekery of Android Wear.
On the wrist and the pretty gold of the LG Watch Urbane, matched with a custom watch face, and quality leather band, is a long way removed from the G Watch R that came before it. "With a classical and cosmopolitan design, the LG Watch Urbane recaptures the beauty of a luxury timepiece," said LG.
But not wanting to be left out LG's Watch Urbane LTE ups the ante even more. It's bigger, it's bolder, and although it's limited Korea for now, it's a smartwatch that really looks the part.
Across town, Huawei kicked off its own MWC proceedings, announcing the Huawei Watch, with "a metal body which features a 316L corrosive-resistant, cold-forged stainless steel, commonly only seen in luxury watches," said Huawei. For a company that's been more associated with affordable phones, the premium punch was widely felt.
It was then just a matter of hours before HTC pulled out the HTC One M9 with a flourish. The language around the design was very much about refinement, about quality of materials and about the attention to detail: "Distinct metal edges combine perfectly with graceful curves for a jewellery-grade look," said HTC.
With HTC having wowed the crowds, it was only another hour before we were hit with the pronouncements about quality and refinement again. Samsung took to the stage to reveal a radical overhaul for its Galaxy handsets.
Metal bodywork and tempered glass replaced plastics, as Samsung rounded out a day. Just look at the colour names - White Pearl, Black Sapphire, Gold Platinum, Blue Topaz, Green Emerald. The new phones show "unique and outstanding beauty," according to Samsung, and "seamlessly blend premium materials."
The message from the big brands was clear. But even the tyrant of Kickstarter Pebble announced the Pebble Time Steel, saying "Where Pebble Time has a sporty look and feel, Pebble Time Steel is refined, made from premium materials, and designed for busy professionals who need to accomplish more during their day."
Fashion and design, a focus on quality, is more important than ever. On the eve of the launch of Apple Watch, we get the feeling that 2015 is going to be rich with luxury launches from big consumer brands as we've seen laid out here at Mobile World Congress.