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Next time you refer to your cellphone, pause and ask yourself, "Is this a Sprint phone or a Nokia phone?" Seems a bit trivial, but how wireless phone subscribes think of their phones will become an increasingly material matter in coming years. Today's Wall Street Journal carries an article about Vodaphone's sourcing a Chinese company to build Vodaphone phones — hardly a surprise given that Nokia, the world's largest maker of handsets, is also trying to earn the loyalty of wireless subscribers.

With 4G, WiMax and future multi-modal phones operating off cellular and wireless broadband networks (T-Mobile became the first U.S. carrier to test this this week), the concept of "Whose Phone Is It Anyway" will become much more top of mind than it has ever been in the past. This becomes particularly true, it seems, as you move up the device functionality curve. Have you ever heard BlackBerry users call their beloved devices anything but BlackBerry (or CrackBerry)?

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