Pic: Vodafone 905SH, by jetalone

Great article from MSNBC.com about how Japan's mobile phone industry is 1.5 years ahead of America's (and even more ahead of Aus/NZ I suspect). Judging from my series on international Web markets, Korea and China are just as advanced in mobile Web. MSNBC notes:

"Thanks to early investments in high-speed mobile networks, Japan‚Äôs cellular telephone industry is about a year and a half ahead of America‚Äôs. Everywhere you look, it shows. Subway riders tap messages to friends, listen to music and play games on their handsets. More than half of Japan‚Äôs cell-phone users own speedy 3G broadband phones (versus a puny 5 percent in the United States). Advertisements for an even cooler wave of new handsets now adorn public billboards, in advance of new ‚Äúnumber portability‚Ä? rules coming this fall. The regulations will make it possible for users to keep their numbers when changing wireless services‚Äîin effect intensifying competition between the three major mobile carriers and forcing them to innovate. The phones are about to get even cooler."

The digg post on this is also interesting:

"Culture is surely a part, as are the U.S. wireless carriers themselves. Consumers here tend to be multi-device users. They like a phone in their pocket, but there's also a laptop or desktop involved in daily computing..."

Personally the main reason I'm not an advanced mobile user is the sheer cost of doing so in my country (NZ). I found it interesting to note that Japan has a very competitive mobile phone industry: "Prices are dropping, new handsets are coming and the carriers are upgrading networks with even faster 3G technology." When will the Western world wake up to the mobile revolution?