Alongside the communicator and computer, the PADD is a modern-day reality.
The Personal Access Display Device (PADD) is essential to anybody living past the 22nd century. They are basically miniature computers combined with electronic readers. Padds are utilized for anything from creating documents, reading reports, downloading material, watching movies, and communicating information through a wireless network of sorts.
Sound familiar? The first devices that could be considered ‘PADD-like’ that entered the
technological arena are the Palm Pilots. Then electronic readers such as Amazon’s Kindle (I love my Kindle by the way…) and the Sony e-reader took the stage, allowing users to download documents and books almost instantaneously. These e-readers most closely resemble the PADDs of Enterprise that have just a few buttons allowing the user to navigate their way through the material and applications. What they lacked, however, was touch functionality. But wait… isn’t there a device out there now that has touch screen functionality? Why yes there is!
We now introduce the iPad. The iPad most closely represents a mixture with the bulk the Enterprise era PADDs and the functionality The Next Generation PADDs. As technology evolved in the Star Trek
universe, there was no longer a need for the tiny buttons on the outer edges of the device, and therefore became completely touch screen, which is a similar path electronic readers have taken. The iPad is completely touch screen, allows the user to surf the web, read documents and book, and do a whole slew of other things.
Something we have that the Star Trek universe doesn’t have? ‘Communicators’ that allow users to serve the web, read books, read documents, get material almost instantly and allow users to talk with the same device! Smart phones allow us to do all of these things. These devices could have come in handy from the 22nd century on. They would make it to where you didn’t have to hold a communicator and a PADD to complete your work. So, in a way, it seems we have advanced in this respect. Although, by the 24th Century, there is really no need for such a device, since your communicator is pinned to you at all times!