Your smartphone was designed to deliver as much value as possible to its manufacturer, carrier and OS vendor, leaving behind the smallest amount of value possible while still making it a product that you'd be willing to pay for and use.
But in south China, the absence of patent and copyright enforcement, combined with enormous manufacturing and design capacity, means that phones for the domestic market are wildly innovative — more than just endless variations on glass-distraction-rectangles. They're specialized and optimized for many different niches, and designed to beat the telcos at their own game, with as many as four SIM cages to allow you to take advantage of one carrier's unlimited loss-leader texting; another's loss-leader data plan, and so on.
The MIT Media Lab's Knotty Objects group has released a video featuring Bunny Huang, explaining this amazing parallel universe of anti-suck, with lessons the rest of the world can take from it.
MIT Media Lab Knotty Objects: Phone [m ss ng p eces/Vimeo]