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I've seen a couple of examples in the book regarding comlinks. However, I'm really not sure what a comlink really looks like or what features a comlink would really have. These things are absolutely crucial to Shadowrun now, and I really have no idea what they look like. I have the problem of feeling the need to illustrate the toys my character uses and I would like to draw her comlink. Any and all help would be awesome.
i'd base it on the appearance of the antiquated devices they're meant to replace, depending on the interface style. Cell Phones, CD Players, MP3 Players, PDAs, Blackberries and Sidekicks, etc.

for the Cybermodem, CP2020 used pictures of CD players which seemed pretty futuristic when it was published (1990?).

Gibson based the cyberdeck appearance off of the appearance of the early Apples sans the screen
So would models have buttons and keys or are they voice activated, thought activated.... or...? The comlink could be so many different things, and yet there really isn't any examples of what a comlink looks like.
QUOTE (Akimbo)
So would models have buttons and keys or are they voice activated, thought activated.... or...? The comlink could be so many different things, and yet there really isn't any examples of what a comlink looks like.

good question, I think most of them are DNI or Trode based sinced they said that simple cyberwear like datajacks are common now (RL logic may disagree but they describe getting some implants as a simple walk in and out operation without days in a hospital). SR4 mentioned one of them having a scroll wheel.
I believe that what a commlink looks like would largely depend on its interfaces, namely if the person interacts directly with the main device or with peripherals. As far as interfaces go, canon states there are a whole host of interface devices, ranging from manual input to AR gloves to DNI control. consequently they can vary significantly.

I can imagine Blackberry like commlinks that mainly have manual input.

There may also be iPod like commlinks that simply feature a scroll wheel to select and take the rest of the input through a microphone you can place on your shirt.

A higher grade may simply be a small box without wires that communicates with other devices wirelessly.

There are probably some that, for the cybered character, you simply plug into a datajack or connect to wirelessly and it interacts through an imagine link and such.

For those who don't trust the wireless you can even get it Skinlinked, to transmit signals across your skin. (There was a lengthy thread that I stop trying to keep track of debating this technology)

In short, a commlink can look like just about anything. I believe it's mentioned at one point that you can get ones custom made to look like jewelry and such. I would imagine they are not usually any bigger than a modern Blackberry and normally interfaced with wirelessly and viewed through glasses.

A quick side note (not meaning to sidetrack the thread):
I feel that a significantly larger part of the population now wears glasses, not necessarily because they need them, but mostly because they are a cheap way to view all the wireless around you. Face it, the everyday Joe wouldn't afford all that fancy cyber that Shadowrunners tote around, but they still need to use the AR just as much as anyone else. Hence I suspect there to be an explosion of people wearing glasses. coincidentally this can be used to quickly judge someone's wealth: wearing glasses = poorer, not wearing glasses = can afford contacts or implants = has some amount of money.
There is a description of what features a commlink has in the gear section. Even an artist rendition of what it may look like. Also, as comlinks can be incorperated into clothing and such, there are a couple of examples of what a runner wearing a commlink would look like in the sample character sections.

If you're still stuck on appearance, commlinks are advanced forms of the pdas/mp3 players and such we use today... so if you want your commlink to look like a legacy Treo or Blackberry or cell phone/watch phone or iPod, then you're welcome to... Just remember that what it looks like depends on interface. How do you access your commlink will affect case size, button options, screen size, etc.
I think they come in a crazy array of variations, likely with a million and one accessories available in vending machines, convenience stores, and specialty shops. Think of cell phones, palmtops, and digital music players today then combine them all into one product that basically everyone needs.

I imagine most of them consist of a small box. Others are ergonomic or stylized to catch the eye of tech-hungry consumers looking for the cutting edge. A very small keyboard (like those found on text messaging cell phones today) might be standard, although in higher end models it is probably stowed behind a panel or not there at all as it is assumed your primary form of input will be Augmented Reality. Some will probably come with a small viewing screen as a secondary access method and a few very basic function keys, scroll wheels, toggles, and so on might be placed somewhere where they are easily accessed. These might control the current network status of the device, the orientation of your AR control panel and "virtual screens", the answering of calls/email, and more. Yeah,most of that can be managed via AR, but hardware backups are always good. A few inputs are present for wired connections, as well as small and discrete "drive bays" for common optical chips, thumb drives, or whatever.

Some consumers will want it all. They want the fancy ergonomic, lime green, commlink with a million buttons, a dozen ports, and a built in cigarette lighter. Others will want a sleek, minimalistic, box with nothing but a power switch and a data jack. The corporations will make sure to make them both happy, and everyone in between.
emo samurai
So... they look like spimes?
Eyeless Blond
I'd assume that by 2060 they'll have perfected that flexible touchscreen tech they're working on today, so I'm thinking most commlinks will have a roll-out screen, somewhat like the nifty gadgets in Earth Final Conflict. That seems to be the best possible use of space for a commlink: something the size of a marker that "folds out" for a keyboard and screen, if the user needs one. Other than that, the sky's the limit
They could also log into your Sim Module and use AR as display and interface, so you have all the relevant information in your field of vision.

I think the short version is, they look like pretty much whatever you want. I mean, if you look through the archetypes, almost all of them (the technomancer being the notable exception I remember) has a little glowey thing, but it varies from person to person. For example, the Street Sam has it integral to his armored vest; the street shaman has it strapped to his wrist; and I think the smuggler has it as part of her belt?

When it comes down to it, the Commlink is mostly defined by its internals, not its externals. Display is typically done through a peripheral device (goggles, cybereyes, contacts, computer screen), not from itself; similarly, input is almost exclusively wireless or through a peripheral. When those two major components are removed... Well, it's said that form follows function, but when the function doesn't DEFINE a form, it's limited mostly by your imagination.
The problem runners could run into with Comms, is that there isn't a set appearance, and most likely they update the "look" a couple of times a year just like fashion, and cater to a wide variety of fashion sense. To an everyday user a Comm probably is a fashion piece or status symbol more than a tool. They could be anything from handsets, to watches, to integrated circuits in clothes. You probably could even get one as a piercing if you wanted.
If you look through the sample character pictures I think you'll see some ideas that artist had, and they do vary. The Street Shaman had a couple of glowing screens on his right wrist, the eco-shaman is wearing what looks like a pager, and the combat mage has something that looks like a thick scientific calculator or a cellphone from a couple years back. On the Weapon Specialist it might be in that leather case just down from the neck on her righthand side. Or that could be something else stored in there. Hard to say there.

I suspect that the upperarm band pictured on the cover of On The Run is also suppose to be a commlink.
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