INTERFACES: Brighthand has a great article, "Why Sony's PDAs Failed in the U.S., but Not in Japan." It's a great read about why you need to keep your gadgets' physical and software interfaces simple and intuitive. Well, duh, Sony. Also not news: Sony's designers simply don't understand the American consumer.
Sony failed with Clies in the U.S. because its devices had numerous small software controls with cryptic icons, buried settings with vast numbers of mystifying variables to set up things like Wi-Fi, and unnecessarily complicated looking screens. Apparently for the Japanese consumer, a complicated-looking Applications screen suggests that the device is cool and powerful. In America, the same screen is seen as too complicated and confusing, and if it requires a manual to figure it out, it's going back to the store.
Japanese people like overly complicated interfaces and enjoy reading manuals? Say it aint so! This goes against my thoughts about technology and interfaces so much I'm tempted not to believe it.