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Smartphone showing at CES 2015 a preamble for huge MWC to come

Hard-hitting phones were few and far between in Las Vegas, but we expect a bumper crop in Barcelona come March.

The LG G Flex 2 was the top smartphone of CES, but that isn't saying all that much. Josh Miller/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Where have all the smartphones gone? Because the world's major phone-makers certainly bowed out of CES 2015.

Sure, LG treated us to a masterful performance with its LG G Flex 2 , cleverly stealing the spotlight of an otherwise quiet smartphone-scape with its sophisticated sophomore attempt at a flexible phone. Plus, its sister brand LG Display had this prototype, which completely one-ups rival Samsung's Galaxy Note Edge .

And there were plenty of other phones at the show, from the $6,000 luxury Lamborghini handset to the Saygus V2 (aka "Superman" phone) with its redonculous external storage capacity or 256GB, to a simple $30 Nokia phone we saw here for the first time.

There were also smartphones by ZTE and Alcatel, by Motorola owner Lenovo, and by the much smaller Yezz. While Huawei didn't launch anything new per se, we did have a chance to see the sleek, limited edition rose-gold, saphhire-screened Huawei Ascend P7.

And that's about it.

Before you start readying the dirge, there are a few logical reasons why this is happening. First, the world's largest mobile show, Mobile World Congress, is right around the corner, taking place the first week of March. It's a thrilling, nonstop frenzy of big-name announcements.

We know that HTC will be there with more than its next flagship phone, and that Samsung -- which uncharacteristically had zero presence at this show -- will have to show face. Microsoft, too, should have a huge press event, picking up where Nokia left off. LG wouldn't miss it.

The second reason why vendors may have pulled back more than ever this year has to do with a trend where they prefer to control the time and location of major launches, rather than yield to the dictates and frenzy of a show where their product could easily fall into the shadow of a more buzzworthy phone.

So, phone-watchers, if you can hold your breath a little while longer, MWC is just around the bend, and it will pay off in spades.