Star Trek fans will recall being blown away by Captain Kirk’s “communicator”. With the flip of the wrist the device opened and Kirk was able to talk to his officers in orbit even as he braved an alien landscape.
The sad truth is, while Kirk rocked, his communicator couldn’t compete with any modern-day, bargain-basement pay-as-you-go flip. Let’s break it down.
First, in order to use the communicator, you had to flip it open via an awkward, repetitive wrist motion. That single action resulted in the early dismissal of over 500 Star Fleet officers due to nerve damage and carpal tunnel syndrome. What a sad and unnecessary waste of human capital!
Next, while certainly not publicized at the time, the Star Fleet proprietary wireless network was notorious for dropped calls, resulting in many embarrassing, unforgiving outtakes in which Kirk, alone and in imminent danger, is seen speaking sheepishly into his communicator, “Uhura? Spock? Anyone? Can you hear me now?”
Finally, consider the fundamentally poor design of the communicator itself. No display, no dedicated buttons and, worst of all, knobs! I said knobs my good man, knobs!!
Eventually Star Fleet Command subcontracted out their wireless network and hardware needs to a small but clever Ferengi upstart and things improved.
Now, what’s the deal with those tricorders?