Reviewed: Geetesh Bajaj
Date Created: November 22nd 2006
Last Updated: February 28th 2009
The number of PowerPoint presentations being delivered to audiences every day is truly phenomenal -- and since most presentations are projected from a laptop, it is truly amazing that presenters continue to carry their laptops across continents just to present without being aware of alternatives.
A large number of business users these days use PDAs, SmartPhones, and other similar equipment -- the BlackBerry is one of the most omnipresent phone PDA brands to be found these days. And to make the connection between the BlackBerry, PowerPoint, and a projector -- a company called Impatica decided to create a small product called the ShowMate.
In this review, I'll look at how the ShowMate works.
ShowMate is from Impatica, a company based in Ottawa, Canada. They also create several other products.
The ShowMate itself is a small, black plastic box that's considerably smaller than a pack of cards -- but it's more than just hardware because the ShowMate includes several other components (see Figure 1):
Figure 1: Inside the ShowMate box
- The ShowMate itself
- A CD containing software to convert PowerPoint presentations to BlackBerry format
- Required cables to connect ShowMate to a projector.
- Bluetooth device to wirelessly send your presentations from the BlackBerry to a ShowMate.
You can learn more about the ShowMate at the Impatica site...
My contact at ShowMate for this review was Jessica Morgan -
thank you, Jessica.
Once you insert the CD that is included in your ShowMate box, a splash screen provides options to:
- Install the Impatica for BlackBerry software
- Get your Impatica for BlackBerry software code
- Download ShowMate firmware updates
- View QuickStart Guide and User Manual
- View an online tutorial
- Work with a sample PowerPoint presentation
Follow these steps to get started:
- Access your Impatica for BlackBerry software code from the Impatica
site -- you'll need to input the serial number on your ShowMate to
get this software code.
- Next, install the Impatica Presentation Viewer on your BlackBerry. This
needs you to connect your BlackBerry to the computer, and download the
software from the Impatica site -- and then install the Viewer (see Figure
Figure 2: Installing the Impatica Viewer on the BlackBerry
Alternatively, you can also access and install the software straight from your BlackBerry using its Internet service.
- Now, install the Impatica conversion software -- this software has already
been reviewed earlier on this
site -- essentially the software creates a BlackBerry file format version
of your PowerPoint presentation (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Converting PowerPoints to BlackBerry format
- Once you convert your PowerPoint presentation to a BlackBerry compatible
format, you need to transfer the converted presentation to your BlackBerry.
To do that, attach your BlackBerry to your computer and then use the steps
outlined in the BlackBerry Transfer tab of the Impatica interface (see Figure
Figure 4: Put the presentations on the BlackBerry
Once you have the converted PowerPoint presentation loaded on your BlackBerry, all you need to do is connect the ShowMate device to both your BlackBerry and a projector. And make sure you also connect your BlackBerry power supply to the ShowMate.
Thereafter, launch the Impatica Presentation Viewer on your BlackBerry, open your presentation, and choose the Project Presentation option (see Figure 5). Soon enough, a high resolution slide that looks almost like your PowerPoint presentation can be seen projected -- and there's no laptop involved!
Figure 5: Project from your BlackBerry
If you don't want your BlackBerry to be connected with wires to the ShowMate, you can also use the included Bluetooth adapter (see Figure 6).
Figure 6: The ShowMate can connect to your BlackBerry using a Bluetooth adapter
ShowMate costs $249.99 -- and works with BlackBerry phones that include version 3.8 or higher of the BlackBerry device software.
Support options include e-mail and phone support. There is also an online
FAQ -- and fax support.
Impatica ShowMate is a compact, lightweight product that's a perfect match for BlackBerry owners who present often -- in fact, it's so good that you might be tempted to dump your existing phone PDA and get a BlackBerry just because you want to use a ShowMate. With the ShowMate, the BlackBerry can now take care of both email and presentations -- thus making the laptop obsolete for a short business trip!