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As you know, we jumped on the story of T3’s “secret” 01 Phone project when they first posted a mysterious entry about it a few months back. And we were delighted to learn that they actually had a desire to produce it, working with design firm The Alloy, and asking interested parties to sign a petition to get it made for real. So it was a pleasure to see the latest incarnation of it, sans laser-keyboard (awww) but with an even better solution: A slide-out, contextual keyboard with a rubberized film giving the keyboard the ability to transform for any particular use, and provide some tactility…something a certain telephony device that rhymes with schmeyephone is lacking. More after the clicky thingie…

If the iPhone 3G is too pedestrian for you these days what with it being available globally and selling in huge numbers, and you’re not all over the Samsung Instinct or Blackberry Storm, maybe a signature and a little time will get you exactly the phone you’ve been dreaming about.

That’s because T3 is still at work in conjunction with design firm The Alloy to create “the perfect mobile phone”. Whether or not that comes to pass will depend on, likely, a zillion factors, but as big T3 fans and, personally, somebody who thinks this is a brilliant design in the making, I’m certainly hopeful they pull it off and produce it, so that I can get my grubby meat hooks on one myself.

The latest rev of the 01 Phone ditches the laser keyboard, which probably would never have worked in such a small form factor anyway…not with any sort of decent battery life, that is. Instead, they’ve added a slide-out contextual keyboard that changes based on the application…QWERTY for texting & typing, numeric for math-related apps, D-pad and other controls for gaming, nav controls for naving, etc. It’s a great idea, and one that’s made better by the inclusion of a rubberized film over the keyboard surface to give the physical-virtual keyboard a more tactile feel.

Other nifty additions in this round are wireless earbuds that tuck into the back of the slide-out keyboard, and even a “mini phone” that can be removed and used as a sort of “remote phone” so that you’ll be able to keep the 01 Phone in your pocket, backpack, briefcase or purse (if you’re Eddie Izzard…oh, or a woman) and still make and receive calls. The mini phone is supposedly flexible, meaning that it can even be strapped around your wrist if so desired, giving you that “Hey, I’m like Dick Tracy but way cooler!” feel. Even if you don’t know who Dick Tracy is. And when not in use, it locks into a recessed area on the back of the 01 Phone.

There’s also a multi-stylus (which you don’t have to use) that’s designed to let you practice your chopstick skillz while resizing photos of swimsuit models that you don’t want people to find on your real computer.

Major props to T3 for keeping the 01 Phone project going, and hats off to The Alloy for an even more interesting revision compared with the original. I’m hoping that the battery life is decent, too, as with all the included tech, well, we’ve seen how that can wreak havoc on battery life in the real world.

If you’d love to get your mitts on an 01 Phone, too, make sure you head on over to T3’s petition site to get the 01 Phone produced in the real world (and ignore the fact that they haven’t updated the photos yet on that site heh).