Nearly one year after the unofficial Star Radio Communicator app was pulled from the App Store by a cease and desist letter that cited copyright infringement by CBS, the epic Star Trek themed app is finally back and it's brilliant. But this time the Star Trek Original Series Communicator app for iPhone is official!
In June of 2009, Talkndog Mobile, launched their original Star Trek Communicator app to a less than approving gaggle of hardcore Trekkies. Committed Star Trek fans complained that the communicator chirping sound effect triggered when users flipped open the cover, was not authentic.
In spite of naysayers, about 4,000 copies of the well thought out classic Star Trek app were sold within a few days after we broke the news of its release. Word traveled quickly, and within a few weeks Star Radio Communicator was immediately beamed down by CBS from the App Store. It was game over for the developers.
But rather than this tale of David versus Goliath ending in a virtual bloodbath, it has culminated in the official release of a CBS Mobile sanctioned Star Trek communicator app, licensed to the same developers who began their adventure as outlaws.
I spoke at length with David Daves, 42 and Anton Angokhin, 43, the dynamic duo responsible for developing the Star Trek app they first imagined back in February of 2009.
"In Star Trek, the good guys always win," David Daves told the iPhone Savior. "CBS gave us the opportunity to come out on top with this app."
"We're so freakin' happy to get it done." Anton added.
Like most superheroes, David Daves, is cloaked by his secret identity as an assistant high school principal in Denver, Colorado by day. Anton Angokhin doubles as a video producer for his own company, Denver HighDef.
David Daves, is no casual Star Trek groupie, in fact, our conversation revealed that he's an obsessive Trekkie down to the bone.
"When I was a kid I had my family room set up like the bridge of the USS Enterprise," said Daves, "I put out this big tulip Saarinen chair that looked like the ones used on Star Trek. We would set the TV on static and then turn the brightness down, it looked like the viewfinder of the Enterprise."
The newly reimagined Star Trek Original Series Communicator ($1.99) for iPhone is packed full of the kind of classic fodder Star Trek fans are certain to drool over. In addition to a hidden, functional dialing pad that accesses the iPhone's address book to make calls, the app includes several sound bites featuring Captain Kirk, one says; "Two to beam up Scotty." The voices of Mr. Spock and "Bones" McCoy, are also included along with Kirk reciting the opening lines from the television show; "Space... the final frontier."
The iconic chirping sound that Trekkies originally panned, has been replaced with the authentic sound effect. In addition, when you tap the spinning dial, then close the communicator lid, a signature Star Trek hailing signal begins after a five second delay. The hailing sound continues until the cover is reopened.
The cool factor for longtime Star Trek fanatics is definitely included in this reworked masterpiece perfectly timed for new iPhone 4 users to lust after. I asked David Daves what advice he had for other developers hoping to cash in on their chunk of iPhone gold.
"Develop something you really believe in and once you've got that, don't quit." said Daves. "CBS stuck with us and gave us a chance to make this happen. We've already pitched them on doing other official Star Trek apps."
What impresses me most about this grand tale, is that CBS chose to partner with a team of otherwise unknown developers in a collaboration that boldly goes where few have gone before. Talkndog Mobile forged ahead with a vision that was strictly their own, taking a huge risk of being shut down for good back in June of 2009. Most mega-companies would have left these first-time devs in the dust after rendering them defenseless with a legitimate Vulcan Death Grip.
That wasn't the case here. CBS Mobile worked with this new breed of software developer in order to build upon a beautifully designed app concept. Sanctioning a labor of obsessive man-love that Star Trek fans and iPhone users alike should consider to be an epic achievement.
I applaud David Daves and Anton Angokhin for their passion and perseverance in seeing their Star Trek Communicator vision finally unveiled after almost a year of dancing through hoops for CBS like an Orion Slave Girl.
James T. Kirk would be extremely proud of the fact that this dynamic duo of die hard Trekkies never gave up. Their classic Star Trek Communicator app is a triumph of spirit and the result of a dogged will to succeed. My feelings can be best expressed by the immortal words of Captain Kirk himself.
"We've got to risk implosion. We may explode into the biggest fireball this part of the galaxy has seen, but we've got to take that one in a million chance." -- Kirk in 'The Naked Time'
For David and Anton, that one in a million chance is about to pay off.
[Above photo Anton Angokhin and David Daves]