The road between today's tech and the tomorrows of SF runs both ways: today's tech inspires what you see on screen, and what you see on screen often inspires tech. Martin Cooper, the Motorola engineer who created the first handheld phone, was inspired by Star Trek's Tricorder. So it's fitting to see one of the best folding phones in the latest Star Trek series, Star Trek: Picard.
As the eagle-eyed team at 9to5Google (opens in new tab) spotted in Season 2 episode 2, Dr. Agnes Jurati taps away at her PADD tablet – something we've seen many times since it debuted in the mid-eighties Star Trek: TNG. But what's that next to it? The props team have tried to disguise it with a case to make it more futuristic, but there's no disguising the tell-tale crease of a foldable Samsung phone.
So which Samsung has boldly gone into the 25th Century?
Star Trek: Picard put the wrong phone in space
The 9to5Google team reckon the disguised Samsung is the Galaxy Z Fold 2: as they point out, filming for this season began in early 2021 so that's too early for the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and the lack of a visible camera cut-out – a pretty distinctive part of the original first generation Galaxy Z Fold – means it's probably not the first-gen either.
And, well, surely the more obvious folding phone choice for the Picard crew to use would be the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G? I mean, it even flips out just like the classic Star Trek communicator.
For me, though, I reckon Star Trek missed a trick here. While Samsung has massively improved the design of the Samsung Galaxy Fold to make it more reliable, I don't think it's durable enough to last another four centuries. No phone is. Or at least, no ordinary phone.
But there is one phone that is anything but ordinary. A phone whose silhouette is as recognisable as a Starfleet starship. A phone that's tougher than any Tricorder. A phone so solid that if you threw it at a Romulan warbird it'd do more damage than any of the Enterprise's photon torpedoes. A phone that many people say is one of the best phones ever made.
I speak, of course, of the Nokia 3310.
Although of course that's just for the humans. The Borg prefer Android phones.