Wouldn’t you like a mobile phone that was built to resemble a Star Trek communicator? Mobile phone maker Nokia, one of Paramount’s promotional partners for the 2009 Star Trek movie, actually built some prototypes of such a device. Below we have more details, video and photos of one of these very rare prototypes.
Nokia’s "Starfleet Communicator" Prototype
It has often been said that the modern flip-style mobile phone was inspired by the communicators from the original Star Trek. So when Paramount was looking for promotional partners for the 2009 Star Trek movie, the Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia was a natural fit. In 2009 Nokia (along with Verizon) ran a Star Trek-themed promotional campaign (with websites), and of course they got a bit of in-movie product placement in the dash of the Corvette joyride scene. In addition, in Europe they released a special "limited Star Trek edition" of their popular 5800 (non-flip) model cell phone, which was essentially the same phone with some Star Trek-themed content.
Nokia limited 5800 "Star Trek edition" released in Europe in 2009
However, Nokia built another phone that was never released. Nokia designed a special mobile phone to externally resemble the original Star Trek communicator (from the TV series, not the new movie). They built 14 prototypes of this phone in 2008, which were based on the Nokia N76 flip phone. It isn’t clear if Nokia just built these for fun, or if they were seriously considered as a product. Recently one of the fourteen prototypes went up for auction on Ebay (from a former Nokia employee) and TrekMovie reader Michael Fisher was the lucky winner of this rare almost product, and he has been nice enough to share his find (including pictures and video).
According to Michael the prototype is a fully-working smartphone which he was able to use with a T-Mobile prepaid SIM card. The prototype includes the famous "chirp" when it is flipped open and is loaded with ten custom Star Trek wallpapers, including a few animated moirés. There are also five Trek ringtones pre-loaded. The external redesign of the standard Nokia phone includes a metal "antenna grille" (with the yellow, red, and blue lights underneath) and a starfleet logo embossed into the casing on the back. The attention to detail even includes a tiny etching of the Enterprise on the cover for the USB port.
Being the phone is a prototype it isn’t perfectly balanced. The lid is especially heavy due to the brass added to the flip cover and Mike reports that the buttons on the keypad are a bit hard to use as well, all of which would have probably been worked out in a final production model. But overall this prototype shows that making a true working Star Trek replica mobile phone is both possible, and extremely cool.
Video showing off Nokia’s "Starfleet Communicator"
Hopefully Nokia or some other mobile phone company will take this to the next level and make the Star Trek phone we all want. Alternatively there have been some rumblings of a TOS-era communicator shaped bluetooth device, which could be just as interesting. You can find some custom built bluetooth communicators, but so far there is no officially licensed versions.
So if Nokia or another company made a real Star Trek mobile phone, would you buy one?