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I'm with you all the way on this. Just the other day I was helping a friend with his iPhone 3GS, and I set it down next to my phone (HTC Arrive). Twice I almost picked up the wrong phone when just glancing down; I had to actively look at them to tell the difference from three feet away. Thinking back to other touchscreen phones I've owned, I realized just how much they all look alike. After all, how many variations on the design can there really be?
Apple patenting the rectangular glass-and-metal touchscreen candybar phone form factor is just crazy. It was around before the iPhone (LG Prada comes to mind) and was an inevitable design choice given the direction all the manufacturers were headed.