This phone began life as a member of Japanese carrier KDDI au's ongoing Design Project series, a line of concepts geared at envisioning tomorrow's phones -- and a pretty impressive number of those concepts ultimately go on to become production phones. In checking out the Ply concept last year, we said "the phone itself is pretty stunningly beautiful, so we'd love to see it on the streets of Tokyo even if it meant nixing the printer," and indeed, that's what they've done; the original idea was for each "layer" of the phone to represent some wild function like printing or pico-projecting, but now, the layer tabs are nothing more than stylized buttons accessing totally pedestrian features like keylock and camera. Here's our take: when your phone looks this much like five pieces of wood sandwiched together, that's a totally acceptable sacrifice to make. It'll be available in three colors later this month as a member of KDDI's iida designer series, which means that if you're outside Japan, your odds of getting in on it are precisely zero.

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KDDI's curious Ply goes from concept to reality in one years' time