Take the communicator, for example, that little radio-like device that Captain Kirk & Co. used for wireless chit chat. Sure, it was voice-activated (“Kirk to Spock …”), but other than that it was sooo 1960s and married to the concept that a phone was nothing more than a, well, phone.

But now we’re warping toward a future when the only portable electronic device you’ll ever need is your phone. Music, scheduler, games, Net access – any electronic gadget you now carry with you will eventually become part of your phone.

For example, Motorola recently unveiled “Q,” a gadget based on its popular Razr phone.With Q you can text message, send and receive e-ail, Web surf, even snap a picture with the unit’s 1.3 mega pixel camera. Oh, yeah, you can also make a phone call with it.

Along with the world’s smallest QWERTY keyboard, Q also has a color screen and a handy thumbwheel for navigation. Plus, Motorola says that its Q is 50 percent thinner than competing products currently on the market featuring QWERTY keyboards.

While Motorola isn’t expected to ship Q until early 2006, the company has another product in the wings that might very well overshadow anything else it puts out this year.

It’s the much rumored iTunes-compatible phone that will act as both an iPod-like device and a cell phone. Reports have said Motorola has had such a device ready for shipping, but the company couldn’t complete a deal with cell phone services, mostly because it was feared that an iTunes / phone device might cut into lucrative income streams such as selling ring tones.

But if you can’t wait for an iPod-like phone, check out Hop-On’s new gizmo, the 1886, which, aside from its lackluster moniker, looks kind of like an iPod and comes with a touch telephone keypad, as well as MP3 functionality, a 2.0M CMOS camera and 30 frames-per-second MPEG4 video. The unit also includes text messaging, a calendar, voice recording, JAVA, 64 ringtones, a 500 name phone book and a calculator. Total price? Somewhere around $300.

And this is just the beginning. Just as cell phones replaced pagers, the wireless devices coming your way will combine everything into one tidy package. Good ol’ Captain Kirk may have been a starship commander who had a way with the space babes, but his communicator was obsolete way before the 23rd century. Sure, it handled voice communications pretty well, but it didn’t come with a screen, text messaging or even games. In fact, when it comes to wireless communications, the good captain was strictly yesterday’s news. We just didn’t know it yet.

If you don’t like mixing your cell phone with your portable music, XM Satellite Radio and Napster have just the service for you. They’re calling it XM + Napster, and it combines the best of both worlds – XM’s 150-plus channels along with the Napster online music store.

XM + Napster is centered around a new line of MP3 players that double as XM receivers. With XM’s Connect and Play technology, XM subscribers will be able to listen to XM programming, store the songs in the player’s memory and then mark the songs they’re interested in purchasing.

But it’s when the player connects with a computer that the synergy between XM and Napster really shines. First off, the XM + Napster service will match the marked XM songs against those in Napster’s inventory, thus allowing seamless purchasing from the online store. Plus, the service will also give XM subscribers a simple way to manage their entire digital collection.

“Napster is excited to work with XM to create a cutting-edge product that merges the best of online and satellite music into one great, integrated experience,” Napster’s co-chairman and CEO, Chris Gorog, said in a statement announcing the service. “XM + Napster will be nirvana for passionate music fans.”

But what about those people who want in on this digital music thing, but don’t want to mess with a computer? Is there an alternative for people who like the idea of ripping CD tracks to portable music players, but don’t want to deal with cables, USB ports and FireWires?

You betcha! It’s XM Satellite Radio and Napster combined with a Thomson MP3 player. Called the first bookshelf audio system to facilitate digital transfers directly from CD to player, the system includes both a CD player and a personal player.

Here’s the game plan: Stick the MP3 player in a docking station located on the top of the unit, insert a CD into the five-disc player, press record, and minutes later your music is ready for the road.

However, the system does have its drawbacks. First of all, the MP3 player comes with only 128MB of flash memory, meaning that it can only handle about two hours worth of music. Then there’s the compatibility issue: You can only use the MP3 player that comes with the unit. On the other hand, the entire set up costs only $179, which is a lot cheaper than buying a computer and an iPod Mini or a Creative Labs Zen Micro.