PowerPoint from the gadget in your pocket

From a RIM BlackBerry

There's only one way to present with PowerPoint from a Blackberry, but it's a good one.

A company called Impatica offers a range of products that enable you to convert, share and present PowerPoint presentations with a BlackBerry. A US$249.99 hardware/software product called Impatica ShowMate, connects your BlackBerry to just about any projector, either directly or via Bluetooth. ShowMate comes with the company's free Impatica for PowerPoint, BlackBerry Edition, which converts PowerPoint files into a BlackBerry-compatible format and displays them on the device. You see your PowerPoint speaker notes on the BlackBerry, but your slides on the screen! Best of all, ShowMate preserves animations and transitions.

To use Impatica ShowMate, you'll need a BlackBerry software version 3.8 or later.

From a Palm Treo

The Palm OS enjoys a wide variety of third-party applications for PowerPoint conversion, viewing and presenting. Some of the better PowerPoint applications are office suites that do other things besides power your presentations. The best of these include the US$39.95 QuickOffice and the US$49.99 Documents to Go (Note: Don't buy the "Standard Edition" of Documents to Go -- it doesn't include PowerPoint support).

The US$29.95 RepliGo converts office documents, including PowerPoint, for use on a wide variety of mobile devices, including Treos.

On the hardware side, one nice solution for Treo 650 and Treo 700p owners is the US$279.99 iGo Pitch Duo. This innovative unit actually uses a Pentium-class chip to speed up your transitions. It plugs into a projector with a VGA port. Your Treo communicates with it via Bluetooth or your Treo's USB connector. Just plug it into the projector, and both view and control the slides on your Treo.

Another device called Margi Systems' Margi Presenter-to-Go SD for Palm and Treo uses a Treo's SD card slot to connect directly to a projector's VGA input. Although the product has been discontinued, you can still buy one. An Australian company called Ambertech is the last place that still carries it. I confirmed via e-mail this week that they still have units in stock and ship to the U.S. To get pricing and details (and to order) send an e-mail to: margi@ambertech.com.au.

And finally, a US$414.95 product called the infraBLUE IRMA Bluetooth Presenter plugs directly into a projector, then gets your slides and control inputs via Bluetooth. Best of all, the gadget supports most Palm devices including the Palm OS Treos, Pocket PC and Windows Mobile devices, and various handset models from Nokia and Sony Ericsson.

So there you have it -- all the information you need to transform your gadget into a powerful, always-ready presentation tool -- and impress even the most grizzled business executive!

Mike Elgan is a technology writer and former editor of Windows Magazine. He can be reached at mike.elgan+computerworld@gmail.com or his blog.

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