Around 2017/2018 I think.
It was even earlier (NAMM 2016) when they officially went cheesy: https://www.instagram.com/p/BAQeW1rLJ7i/?igshid=bdmeunxdogh8. Same year they changed the bridge design. So sad.
The real question is does a real, natural, solid abalone inlay sound better than one made with a synthetic (plastic) material?I got my soprano in March, 2011, and it does not have the inlay. I've compared the sound of the inlay and non-inlay ukes, and the one that sounds better is definitely the ...
On the factory tour it is certainly an interesting stop when they show the tiny abalone pieces and how they are fit into the space.
Inlays absolutely amaze me. How can they cut a depression to exactly fit a piece of material? I don't believe they can. I think it's all an optical illusion. They say there a beautiful inlay, and we agree, not wanting to look stupid.