knapper_tech writes "After seeing the iPhone introduction, I was totally confused by how much excitement it generated in the US. It offered no features I could see beyond my Casio W41CA's capabilities. I had a lot of apprehension towards the idea of a virtual keypad and the bare screen looked like a scratch magnet. Looks aren't enough. Finally, the price is ridiculous. The device is an order of magnitude more expensive than my now year-old Keitai even with a two-year contract. After returning to the US from Japan, I've come to realize the horrible truth behind iPhone's buzz. Over the year I was gone, US phones haven't really done anything. Providers push a minuscule lineup of uninspiring designs and then charge unbelievable prices for even basic things like text messages. I was greeted at every kiosk by more tired clamshells built to last until obsolescence, and money can't buy a replacement for my W41CA." Read on as this reader proposes and dismissed a number of possible explanations for the difference in cell-phone markets between the US and Japan. He concludes with, "It seems to me more like competition is non-existent and US providers are ramming yesteryear's designs down our throats while charging us an arm and a leg! Someone please give me some insight."