Not so long ago, wood was everywhere in the world of consumer electronics. In the middle of the 20th century, everything from televisions to microwaves to radios came as a bundle of technology housed inside a wooden case or cabinet. These gadgets were imposters, disguised as furniture so as to slip into our homes unnoticed next to the armoire and the wood-paneled wall. So they were made to feel natural, to feel like part of our homes.

Soon, though, gadgets became the focal point of our living rooms. And as devices from televisions and cars to smartphones and tablets were accepted and commoditized, as manufacturing speed and cost outweighed all other factors, as plastics and metals became both easier and cheaper to work with, wooden electronics became a cottage industry consisting mostly of handmade smartphone cases and high-end audio gear.

But wood’s relegation to the sidelines of the electronics industry isn’t because it’s unappealing, says Rick Osterloh, the SVP of product at Motorola. And just about a year ago, he and his team set about to bring it back. After many false starts (”There were many moments like that,” he says with a sigh when I ask if the team ever thought about giving up) and a lot of high-volume carpentry, Motorola finally launched its Natural Collection: Moto X backs in bamboo and three different wood finishes. I’ve been using a bamboo model for about two weeks, and I think the future might look a lot more like our wood-paneled past than we thought.