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Why Are Phones From Other Countries So Chic?

I am constantly in awe of technology, specifically cell phones from Asia and Europe. Perhaps I've just grown up thinking of Asia and Europe as fashion epicenters and far more trendy than the US, or maybe I'm just jealous I can't get an 18-Carat Gold Nokia 8800 Sirocco phone, which is available only in Europe, or a LG Candybar Shine, which is only available in Russia. It seems my desire for unattainable cell phones is pretty common.

MSNBC brought up the fact that it's all too easy to feel a little green about non-American cell phones, because they often seem inferior to more glitzy, technologically advanced phones from overseas. One reader even told MSNBC: "The U.S. cellular phone system is ridiculous. …It is an embarrassment to compare your new phone with [those of] your friends from Europe or Asia." Here's more:

So what gives? Why are things in the States so different? Unfortunately it's not an easy question to answer, and if I had the time and the column space I could write a thesis detailing the many reasons. But I have to go for brevity here, so I've simplified it into three main points: competing network, carrier control, and cultural differences. Each of these factors plays a big role in explaining why U.S. users remain a bit behind our overseas friends.

What do you think? Does the technology and appearance of iPhone, BlackBerry (yeah, it's made in Canada, but close enough!) and Helio make up the difference?

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