Let’s face it, the Personal Access Display Devices (PADDs), those tablet computers that Geordi LaForge and Dr. Beverly Crusher were always carrying around on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” were essentially Starfleet-issued iPads. Actually, they weren’t even as tricked out as the iPad — no video chat, no 3G (because they were always handing them around) and by all appearances, not a single game, despite the obvious need for Angry Romulan Birds of Prey during slow shifts down in engineering.
So it only makes sense that CBS Interactive is launching an app today that essentially turns an iPad into a PADD. The PADD app features an interface that’s an exact reproduction of the LCARS interface used on the various “Star Trek” series. But instead of transmitting data and order for Starfleet officers, it features tons of information from the shows, including aliens, ships, technologies and episode guides. It is also integrated into CBS’ Star Trek Facebook page and Twitter feed.
There’s even a computer voice similar to the one made famous by the late Majel Barrett Roddenberry.
“Back when the PADD first appeared on ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’ none of us imagined that today we’d be able to hold the real thing in our hands,” said Michael Okuda, who designed the computer interface design for “ST: TNG” and its big-screen spinoffs. “But the Star Trek PADD app, running on your iPad, is an actual miniature, handheld, touch-sensitive, 24th-century-style computer screen.”
The app was made by developer ArcTouch and costs $4.99. My take on it? Well, if this is in your left hand and there’s an iPhone with the phaser app in your right, you’re the coolest cadet at the academy. But then again, I own all 11 “Star Trek” movies on DVD.
— Ben Fritz
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