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They've been available on the black market almost since the beginning. They'll be selling in Russia next week. And now you can get them at the Apple Store. What are they? They're unlocked iPhone 3Gs, usable on the carrier of choice, not just AT&T. Simply insert your existing SIM card and activate by visiting iTunes 8. There's just one catch: Your address has to be in Hong Kong.

Oh, and they cost about US$700 (HK$5400) for the 8GB unit or $800 (HK$6200) for one with 16MB. That's according to the unit's Apple Store page, which I visited this morning and attempted to buy one. But no dice; my New York address didn't qualify. I wasn't really going to buy one, I just wanted to see if Apple would let me.

But if you're in the area and in the market, the iPhone 3G works on UMTS/HSDPA and GSM/EDGE carrier networks, and also includes WiFi (b/g) and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (enhanced data rate) wireless communications. It's the WiFi that would interest me because my pay-as-you-go cell phone plan does not include Internet access via the carrier network. But I could make calls using a number of Skype-like client apps such as SoonR Talk and Fring, which also gives you instant messaging. But in that case, I suppose an iPod Touch would do just as well.

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