We've often gone to great pains to point out that just because Japanese phones serve up plenty of innovative services, that doesn't mean they're great handsets.

In fact, apart from a few phones, such as the Infobar 2 from KDDI's au Design Project, they're mostly absolute dogs.

Yamaha design

That's why it's such a pleasure to discover that KDDI, the second-largest carrier in the country, is ready to bust out a batch of new designer phones and this time they're all also musical instruments.

The company has been working with Yamaha to add advanced interfaces to some odd-looking phones, with the results including a device that features a piano keyboard and another with a scratchable turntable.

Hardware keys

Perhaps best of all is the 'Band in my Pocket' phone, which can morph into a mouth organ or a trumpet. After all, who's ever seen a mobile phone that actually has real trumpet keys on the side?

Naturally, these are still just PR-loving prototypes, but KDDI will likely release something related to them towards the end of the year.