If you're a Star Trek fan and you have an iPad you'll get this App no matter what I say You can stop reading now and just click the link below. Now for everyone else, the Star Trek PADD App is actually one of the first Star Trek Apps that I've seen that actually has some useful features (most are just sound effects and pretty pictures). I remember years ago buying the Interactive Star Trek Encyclopedia for my computer and I thought it was cool to be able to launch an Application and search for all those little Star Trek bits of knowledge that I wanted to read about. If you're a Star Trek fan then you're familiar with the PADD (Personal Access Display Device) used throughout the later series and the movies. PADDs were literally as common as pads of paper on the show. People used them, but also had no problem handing them to others to use and I would assume keep. Pretty much like you would write something on a piece of paper and hand it to someone today. On the show the PADD seems to be much like the multipurpose iPad today. It was used for communicating, reading, and access to the main ship's computer (LCARS).
PADD for your iPad
This App is much like the Star Trek encyclopedia on my computer that I remember from years past. Of course the App takes advantage of the iPad's touch screen and you get all the familiar Star Trek sound effects. You can either browse the information from the database or do searches. Many of the search results have picture associated with them, but surprisingly some don't. It literally says "no image available". The search is useful for those times when you hear a term on Star Trek and you want to quickly look it up. You can also browse info from the Star Trek Facebook and Twitter feeds.
The one thing that I'm most shocked by is that there is no voice control. After all, we are talking Star Trek here. I would expect to be able to at least use voice control for my searches. It just seems odd to see the big iPad keyboard come up and cover most of the Star Trek interface while you hand key in your search terms. It may be a little thing to some, but I just can't seem to get past this omission. However, for the sake of the review, I'll move on. The App only works in landscape view, which again is actually the opposite of the way I remember seeing (smaller) PADDs used on the show. On the show the smaller versions seemed to be in portrait orientation while the larger ones were landscape. I guess if you consider the iPad to be the larger one then a landscape orientation makes sense. The content is also organized by category. This way if you're interested in say the ships you can just tap the Ships button and see all the ships every used on Star Trek. Once you're in a category you'll have to either scroll or tap a letter to jump to the first entry matching that letter.
The Bottom Line
While I do think this is the best Star Trek iOS App I've seen to date, I think that even the most diehard Star Trek fans will become bored with it when the novelty wears off. Let's hope that they continue to add more features to it and integrate some more 23rd Century technology or ideas to it as we go. How about some video chat? Voice Control would be nice. Perhaps the ability to record log (blog) entries with a voice recorder (yes there are other Apps that do this, but it would be nice if this one did it too). There's lot's of room to add more "functionality" to this App besides just a database. Let's make this App as useful as a PADD!