open/close all folders
- The omnicoms of the Legion of Super Heroes comics are generally depicted as something midway between a smartphone and a tablet computer in size, with a keypad and screen. The ones the Legion uses have quite a few additional functions built in, such as environmental scanning capabilities. Though these are becoming defictionalized as well.
- Fact Totems from Sinister Dexter, which are basically smartphones which give data on targets to gun sharks. Their use in the strip actually came a good decade before smartphones came to prominence.
- In Albedo Erma Felna EDF everyone in the EDF has a "hand computer" that connects them to the sentient and omnipresent Net. It's got a camera, is about 10 x 12 cm, made of titanium, and the fleet version can control a ship from any data port on board.
- In 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dave and Frank use devices called "IBM Tele Pads" to watch themselves being interviewed by The BBC. They only seem to operate in portrait mode and have ten channel buttons along the bottom of the screen.
- Avatar had transparent data pads onto which the Earth people could drag info from their computer screens.
- Star Wars has data pads, though they're mostly featured in the Expanded Universe
- Twenty Minutes into the Future, everyone in the Wim Wenders' film trilogy Until The End Of The World seems to carry around a wallet-sized personal computer.
- The Culture novel Excession mentions some Culture citizens using devices of this nature called Tablets — generally Culture citizens have something in their head called a neural lace, through which they can do everything, but more "off-the-grid" people won't have a lace and will just have one of these.
- Subtle in the web-novel Domina. Pads are mentioned in the same way you'd mention a paper memo pad, but then people are described as "scrolling down" or "tapping his way through," making it more obvious that they are this trope.
- In the Quadrail Series multimedia "readers" have replaced most media platforms, with movies, music, and books being read off of small data cards or chips that are loaded into it.
- The Mote In Gods Eye. The Imperial humans have pocket computers that can operate on their own as well as connecting with other computers. They can write on the computers with a stylus, like the Star Trek: The Original Series example.
- In Rainbows End, these are mostly considered obsolete, though they are still available for people who, for whatever reason, don't want or aren't ready for full-on wearables. Robert Gu starts with one of these after his Alzheimer's is cured, to try to ease his way into the modern world. It's actually so thin and flexible that it can be folded up like a piece of paper.
- Desks in Enders Game are most likely tablets (they're certainly portrayed thus in the film). Apparently, one can even write code in them, something that is not very comfortable with Real Life tablets.
Live Action TV
- Andromeda had flexis—datapads that looked like sheets of paper.
- Averted pretty hard in Battlestar Galactica, which used laptops until a tablet computer (of a size and shape similar to an early 21st-century model) appeared in the 4th Season aboard the Demetrius. Usually the crew just passes around information on pieces of paper.
- Caprica replaces these with digital computer paper. In the pilot, Zoe even uses a piece of digital paper to send a text message.
- "Globals" in Earth: Final Conflict were exactly like Real Life smartphones... years before smartphones first appeared on the market. They were handheld digital computers combined with cutting edge cellphone technology.
- A deleted scene from the Firefly pilot "Serenity" showed Simon using a tablet computer to look up the name of the ship. It was evidently voice-activated.
- In the TV version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Guide looks something like an Amazon Kindle—kind of a dedicated tablet computer which can only access the Guide.
- The novel's version looks more like a large calculator with a hundred buttons and a 4-inch-square screen, evidently pre-dating the touchscreen.
- The film version of the Guide appears to be a closer example of this trope: styled to look like a book, but with a seamless folding screen instead of pages.
- Stargate Atlantis had ubiquitous tablets about the size of an iPad, but with better armor. They could also interface with alien technology. In Stargate SG-1, even Ba'al knows how to use one, although he did spend a few years on Earth.
- Star Trek has PADDs (Personal Access Display Devices). See Everything Is an iPod in the Future for further discussion about them.
- Star Trek: The Original Series featured the PADD's 23rd Century predecessor, a device usually referred to as the "electronic clipboard," usually given to Kirk by a Yeoman to sign with some sort of stylus, then handed back to the Yeoman. The PADD wouldn't be formally introduced until the 24th century.
- The pilot episode of Babylon 5 had one character's credentials presented in the form of a flexible display with a scrollable screen. In the show proper, they'd use bulky looking slate tablets instead, but for the most part the characters just used the station's multitude of wall or console mounted computer screens. Incidentally, the show also featured Data Crystals, which were used identically to USB thumbdrives, which would hit the market a year or so after the show ended its run.
- Traveller has "hand computers".
- The Imperial Guard of Warhammer40000 make use of "dataslates", assuming the author doesn't have them use feather quills and parchment.
- They seem to appear most often in the Ciaphas Cain series, Jurgen keeps his Porn Stash on a collection of them.
- A few items in the Dark Heresy RPG spinoff. Some are used only for text and generally about as cheap as paper notebooks (or cheaper on some worlds), simply buying a new one instead of writing over old data. Dataslates with more functionality are rarer, but just as cheap.
- You can find and read several of these in all Deus Ex games, which refer to them as "datacubes".
- These are ubiquitous appliances in the Mass Effect universe, though mainly for transfer of data between individuals. Personal computers takes form of wrist-mounted Omnitools.
- The Player Character's PDA from the System Shock games.
- The Captain's PDA in Alien Legacy.
- Angels 2200: Two different versions are shown: A security guard accesses the ship's message system with one and the pilots carry something called "Jmlad" that functions as a personal organizer and storage device.
- The Cyantian Chronicles "plates" are standard Cyantian tech. Used for everything from schoolwork to indexing subspace inventories to playing games.
- Freefall has ubiquitous data pads that connect to the global comnet. On the rare occasion that people absolutely need something resembling paper they print out a sheet of plastic referred to as "smart paper." This paper can alert the user with vibrations or a ringtone, though apparently the default setting is to fold itself into origami.
- Jix compared the iPad to her own species' tablets once. She wasn't particularly impressed.
- Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger stumbles across some kind of plot when he gets his datapad mixed up with the Gestaltian Envoy's one.
- As common as paper in Schlock Mercenary, but referred to as "Handbrains."
- When they're not using their brain implants characters in Quantum Vibe often use touchscreens that can be stretched from the size of a smartphone into a very large model tablet.
- Tablet computers. While they've been around for decades, it's only been since the introduction of the iPad and its competitors that they've come to prominence. Amusingly enough, a number of tablet computers in the early 90s ran on Newton, a handheld OS developed by Apple.
- Smartphones, which are essentially smaller versions with phone capability.
- Personal Digital Assistants (PDA), which were pocket-sized tablets that gradually disappeared from the market around the same time smartphones started becoming more common. Essentially smartphones without the phone. The iPod Touch is a modern descendant of these.
- Phablets, (phone + tablet), larger than a smartphone, and smaller than a tablet and purportedly has the function of both (which is debatable, it depends on which model you are talking about).