Sony and Microsoft have opted to unveil mid-range smartphones at the Mobile World Congress trade fair in Barcelona.
Microsoft indicated it would wait until the release of Windows 10 to announce a new flagship, despite its high-end Lumia 930 dating back to April 2014.
Sony's Xperia Z3 is less old, having launched in September. But the firm had previously refreshed its top model roughly once every six months.
Sony said its focus was on "broadening its customer base" at this time.
The companies' decisions to leave more high-profile launches until later has one immediate benefit: the flagships do not risk being overshadowed by Samsung's Galaxy S6, which was unveiled on Sunday evening.
Even so, one expert said the importance of the fast-growing mid-range market should not be underestimated.
"It's much harder to win over people at the high-end than the mid-tier, and it costs more money to do so, especially if you're not one of the top few handset brands," said Carolina Milanese, chief of research at KWP ComTech.
"In the mid-tier there's also less loyalty - consumers switch around more - so there's a bigger proportion of the market to go after.
"And it's easier to demonstrate value, by offering a different balance of price and features.
"But the challenge is that you are competing with more firms and some of them are pretty ruthless when it comes to price."
LG, Motorola and ZTE also unveiled new mid-range smartphones in the days leading up to MWC.
Microsoft is adding two models to its line-up, both of which run Windows Phone 8.1 and will be upgradeable to Windows 10 when it is released later this year.
The Lumia 640 offers owners both 4G data connectivity and ability to fit two Sim cards at once - a popular feature in India, where users often switch network provider when crossing states to get a better rate.
The phone's 5in (12.7cm) screen is bigger and higher resolution than the Lumia 635 it supersedes. It also gains a higher quality eight megapixel camera and an NFC (near field communication) chip for wireless payments and cordless connections to other kit.
The other new model, the Lumia 640 XL, has a bigger 5.7in (14.5cm) screen and a 13-megapixel camera. Both are being bundled with a one-year subscription to Microsoft's Office 365 productivity software suite, including access for an additional PC and tablet.
They will range in cost between €139 ($155; £100) and €219 ($245; £160), depending on the specification.