CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation has launched an official Star Trek PADD (Personal Access Display Device) application for the iPad.
Die- hard fans of the television franchise can now enjoy a mobile Trekker experience. The app for iPad features a masterful reproduction of the LCARS interface- a fictional computer operating system depicted in the Star Trek and it also provides an extensive database of the television series with information on the characters, species, vessels places and episodes.
The iPad app also has Star Trek latest news updates from the franchise's Facebook page and Twitter feed. The information on the database is drawn from the official StarTrek.com website as well as from the movies, television shows and the animated series.
Apart from the visual treats like the LCARS graphical user interface, the iPad app also has Star Trek-related sound effects and prompts from a recognizable computer voice that transport one to a starship.
The iPad app was made by development studio ArcTouch in conjunction with CBS mobile and is available for $4.99 in the App Store.
CBS Mobile senior VP, GM Rob Gelick told reporters, The Star Trek Padd app lets die-hard fans and casual enthusiasts use the authentic LCARS interface to access the extensive official Star Trek database, and easily connect with other Trekkers. We expect that the app will also introduce the show to a new generation of fans, leveraging 21st century technology to provide a glimpse into the 24th century.
According to technology news website wired.com, while the iPad app has a fairly impressive data base and cool sound and visual effects, it also has some shortcomings.
The vast data base with information on the series is divided into categories and on selecting a category an alphabetical list of associated entries is displayed that is not conducive to casual browsing stated the report.
It added that while the data base was indeed commendable the iPad app also included information about actors, writers and other people who were involved in the making of the show, which might not interest all its users. Moreover by including real world topics in its database the app breaks out of character and could fail to impress Star Trek enthusiasts.
The built in feature of the app that allows the user to type in a query into the iPad's onscreen keyboard also takes away from the aesthetic of the whole Star Trek experience as the iPad's standard keyboard looks out of place in the LCARS environment, according to the report.
It also stated that while the app was a fun gimmick', the $4.99 price for it was a tad too much unless you are a die-hard fan of Star-Trek.
Reactions to the app so far have been mostly favorable with some calling it a very creative and cool effort by CBS while others berating it for its lack of creativity.
Ds9 a blogger on wired.com says that the app missed the creative boat here!
I was hoping for something that acted more like an operating system skin. So that the functioning of the iPad was like sitting at a console but was functional. I kind of wanted to do my word processing with this interphase, or even run other apps in this configuration, he said.
He was also wanted more information on the trek database which would make it feel like you stumbled on the enterprise computer and had full clearance. So star charts, information on systems, governments, latest intel on romulans was what he felt could give the app an edge.
Videoflyer, another blogger on the website felt that the LCARS interface was designed to look good on TV but as an interface it's pretty awful. Having said that, though, I'd buy it if they made it available for the iphone.
However, blogger Bryce Hanson was of a different opinion.
Ever since they made the iPad, I've thought there should be something that pays homage to the original source with a trek interface, he said.
You had me at: 'LCARS interface!' added Charles Smith, another blogger.