PADDs were used by such space-faring organizations as Earth Starfleet and the later Federation Starfleet, as well as by the Andorian Imperial Guard, Bajoran Militia, Cardassian Union, Klingon Empire, Romulan Star Empire, and Vulcan High Command. They were common to cultures even as distant as the Delta Quadrant.
Consisting of a large touchscreen display and minimalistic manual interface or control panel (generally only one or two buttons), the typical PADD is used for a variety of functions including logging manifests, compiling duty rosters or diagnostic reports, entering personal data, and/or accessing library computer systems.
Varying in size, shape and specification, PADDs are often distinguished by the species of their manufacturer or user, Earth and Federation Starfleet PADDs generally flat and rectangular in shape, Klingon and Cardassian PADDs often more angular.
- The internal circuitry of the Starfleet issue PADD circa 2360s was revealed only once, in the TNG episode "A Fistful of Datas". While the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual indicated isolinear innards, the aforementioned episode portrayed a PADD utilizing printed circuit boards just like present-day computers.
- The Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual states that Starfleet PADDs are powered by sarium-krellide power cells, and have an outer casing of Boronite whisker epoxy, which would allow the PADD to sustain a 35 meter drop without damage.
Standard issue during the 22nd century, PADDs utilized by Earth Starfleet were rectangular in shape, dominated by a large display screen taking up much of the surface area of the device. Small buttons were located just below the screen, most often grouped in two, at the lower right-hand side of the interface. Varying control button arrangements were also in use. (ENT: "Vox Sola", "Dead Stop")
At some point between 2144 and 2154, Arik Soong was able to open all the locks in the San Francisco prison he was being held at using just a PADD. After this incident, he was only allowed to use paper when sketching and writing his ideas. (ENT: "Borderland")
- The prop used throughout the run of Enterprise was not referred to by name until the fourth season episode "Borderland". It was created from a Cabin Light Box (Cabin Pocket-Vue CL-5000P Pocket Light Box), a device used to view transparencies or undeveloped film, augmented with 3M Rubber "Bumpons" for buttons, and a rubber "bumper" for what has been presumed to be a camera. A tutorial for a homemade version can be found online .
- One of these PADDs is currently located in the Star Trek: The Experience museum in Las Vegas, Nevada, while another traveled with the Star Trek Adventure exhibit.
Andorian Imperial Guard
- The Quarren PADD was later slightly modified to appear as a Tellarite PADD, seen on a table in ENT: "Terra Prime".
Vulcan High Command