Something pretty remarkable has happened, a cellphone with a wooden enclosure has made the leap from concept to market, proving the cynical amongst us wrong. There is no shortage of attractive concept design of phones, computers, and other electronic devices with wooden enclosures and components, and a whole industry of people that make aftermarket mods, but rarely is there a widely produced gadget that incorporates wood. At CEATEC JAPAN 2009, Japan’s largest cellular network, NTT DOCOMO debuted a prototype phone made from scrap cyprus from the culling of Pacific forests, calling it originally the Touch Wood (insert tasteless joke here). Now, two years later, the phone that everyone expected to languish in the prototype stage has been released to market, and has been available in Japan since the late spring. As part of the initial ad campaign, NTT DOCOMO released a beautiful commercial, reminiscent of The Way Things Go, or more recently the Honda Cog commercial or OK Go video for This Too Shall Pass.
There is such an inherent beauty to wood, every unit is unique, and each will gain even more character as it ages and takes on the oils of its owner. The wood is collected sustainably, and not treated with any paint or artificial colorants, and is resistant to bugs, mold, and mildew.
I am very curious to see how successfully received these phones will be, if it will finally act as proof to other manufactures that it is feasible to use wood in electronics. Unfortunately, the phone seems to be only available in Japan, but with any luck, the trend will catch state side.