:: Sun Media | Video phone has Kirk beamin’ ::


Video phone has Kirk beamin’

Star Trek icon shills for Rogers

Steve Tilley
Sun Media
April 3, 2007

When Captain Kirk flipped open his communicator and ordered Scotty to beam him up, he never had to worry about having a piece of broccoli stuck in his teeth.

For better or for worse, reality has taken a jump ahead of Star Trek pseudo-science with the introduction of video calling on mobile phones, allowing people equipped with a new type of cellphone to have face-to-face conversations even if they’re hundreds of kilometres apart.

“I think that this phone exceeds the imagination of Star Trek,” said Montreal-born sci-fi icon and Emmy winner William Shatner, who visited his native Canada to help Rogers Wireless promote the service at a Toronto press conference on April 2.

“This fact exceeds the fiction,” Shatner said.

A North American first, video calling is part of a just-unveiled suite of services that utilize Rogers’ newly upgraded high-speed data network. A selection of YouTube clips, XM satellite radio stations and TV programming will also be on tap. The new service will initially only be available in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe region, but a Rogers spokesman said video calling will be expanded to the rest of the country by the end of the year.

For early users eager to jump in, video calling requires a new mobile phone and an additional service plan that costs $5 per month for 50 minutes of video calls. For a limited time, new Rogers subscribers who sign up for the plan will get unlimited video calling with their contract.

Although freshly minted cellphone pitchman Shatner got his big break portraying Capt. James T. Kirk in the late ’60s, an acting gig he had almost 10 years before Star Trek finds new life on the April 3 episode of Boston Legal.

Shatner was just 26 when he played a young attorney opposite the late Ralph Bellamy in an episode of the CBS anthology series Studio One.

Black-and-white footage from that show serves as flashbacks that ethically unfettered lawyer Denny Crane (Shatner) has to a decades-old case that catches up with him in the present day. You’d think Shatner would relish the chance to tune in April 3, but no.

“I don’t look at any of the shows,” he said. “I can barely respond to seeing myself on this (cellphone) screen.”

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