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Slideshow To Go on Your BlackBerry PlayBook

Slideshow To Go for your BlackBerry PlayBook manages to do two things at the same time: it both impresses and disappoints. These features are exciting:

  • It can display a basic PowerPoint presentation in high resolution and full color on your BlackBerry PlayBook screen.

  • That same image can also be output from the little tablet to a high-definition television (or some models of video projector) so you can put your images or your slides up on the big screen.

  • You can have the show presented on that second screen or projector while the BlackBerry PlayBook displays notes and thumbnails of upcoming slides (a perfect assistant for a public speaker).

    image0.jpg

Here, then, is what is disappointing about Slideshow To Go:

  • The presentation doesn’t include most of the fancy bells and whistles available in current editions of PowerPoint 2010 including transitions, SmartArt, and moving elements in the slide.

  • The show doesn’t include embedded audio and video. All slides are static, without motion.

  • Presentations typically include more than one image on a slide, with the picture changing automatically, or when you click for a change at a key moment; Slideshow To Go ignores all of this and places all images, one atop another, on the screen.

  • Most curiously, unlike Word To Go and Sheet To Go, the Slideshow To Go app doesn’t let you create a new presentation on the BlackBerry PlayBook or edit an existing one.

There is one way to use the BlackBerry PlayBook as a player for a fully edited and complete PowerPoint presentation: record a presentation as a video and then use the tablet’s player to present it. This doesn’t, however, allow you to edit the show and generally results in a lower-resolution version.

Slideshow To Go has only a few available commands:

  • Open an existing slideshow. Tap Browse and select one of the displayed presentations. If your BlackBerry smartphone is attached, you can also browse its flash memory for compatible files.

    image1.jpg
  • Delete a slideshow. From the list of recent presentations, tap the pen icon and then tap Delete next to the slideshow you want to remove.

  • Display lecturer’s notes. Display the slideshow onscreen, and tap the leftmost icon to display the Notes screen at the bottom of the screen. Here you can read any notes you made when you created the presentation on a desktop or laptop computer. You can’t add notes from the BlackBerry PlayBook’s keyboard.

  • Display thumbnails of slides. Display the slideshow onscreen, and tap the center icon to display thumbnails of the current and upcoming slides along the left side of the screen. You can’t add, delete, or rearrange slides on the BlackBerry PlayBook.

    image2.jpg
  • Go to Presenter mode. Display the slideshow onscreen, and tap the rightmost icon to go to Presenter mode. Connect a micro-HDMI cable to the port on the BlackBerry PlayBook and connect the other end to a 1080p high-definition television or video projector.

    The show can mirror exactly what you see on the tablet, or can display the completed show while the BlackBerry PlayBook displays notes and thumbnails (or even a completely different application).

    image3.jpg
  • Save a copy of a presentation. Despite the fact that you can’t edit a presentation, you can save a copy of it on your BlackBerry PlayBook or on an attached BlackBerry smartphone. Why would you want to do this? If you loaded the presentation from the smartphone, you could store it locally on the PlayBook (or the other way around).

The Documents To Go suite was built around the specifications of Microsoft Office files: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. It will work with current versions of that software, which generally means the Office 2010 and Office 2007 or XP editions.

You can, though, bring in word processing, spreadsheet, or presentation files created by other programs that are capable of creating compatible files. As one example, the Apple iOffice suite can do this; its Keynote software can save a presentation as a PPT file, which will run under Slideshows To Go. To do that, choose Share→Export and click PPT (PowerPoint).

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