Image: Samsung's SCH-B200
Samsung Electronics  /  Reuters
Samsung's third satellite Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) phone, the supercool, slide-and-rotate SCH-B200, unfolds and swivels into a wide-screen format.
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updated 8/5/2005 1:37:13 PM ET 2005-08-05T17:37:13

Digital technology has both enabled globalization and benefited from it. The entire planet is now networked to the point where bloggers in Tajikistan and Toledo are discussing the same new Sony camera. But even in the world of electronics, the global village has its enclaves where eccentric gadgets cater to the locals.

There are a variety of reasons why these high-tech toys remain within their regions: Sometimes the differences in technological infrastructure will turn the cell phone you use and love in Kyoto into a useless brick in Caracas. Often, the explanation comes down to marketing — some countries have populations that are more tech-savvy and eager to spend money on new gizmos, so these are the places where the most advanced and expensive products can be found.

Many techno-disparities can be attributed simply to slow product rollouts (i.e., you can't get it where you live because the company just hasn't gotten around to getting it there). And then there are the products that simply don't translate — culture clashes are a powerful force, even in the realm of personal electronics.

Of course, with enough money and effort, anything is accessible. Certain sites, such as Dynamism.com and Audiocubes.com, specialize in import-only goodies for the geek who must have everything — even if the operating system is in kanji. But the expense and difficulty in procuring these devices — along with the awkwardness of using them — only serves to reinforce that they simply weren't meant for you or your countrymen. But we won't let that stop us from sniffing around the planet to let everyone see what they're missing.

© 2012 Forbes.com

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