LAB IMPRESSIONS

BlackBerry enters the app wars with winner for feds

Although many government users are happily addicted to their BlackBerrys, they might have been a little jealous of the plethora of applications that have come out for other smart phones. But lately, Research in Motion has made a push to get more graphically inclined apps for the BlackBerry, so their users won’t feel left out. A good example of this is something that RIM just announced from the floor of the Consumer Electronics Show, called the BlackBerry Presenter.

The Presenter lets you manipulate and project Microsoft PowerPoint presentations directly from a BlackBerry device. This does a lot of cool things, such as connecting to a monitor or projector via VGA or S-Video. What’s more, it lets you keep showing one slide to the audience while you search through other slides for the next one you want to show. And it does this all with plain old PowerPoint files, without the need to preprocess them on a PC.

This application is especially important, since most presenters I’ve seen at trade shows or conferences still had to bring along a laptop PC to run their presentations, even if they had the latest and greatest smart phones in their pockets. And since many government types use a BlackBerry in one form or another, this new PowerPoint app is especially valuable for feds. The Presenter app can save luggage space and weight, and can make things go much more smoothly since all the files will be in one place — your BlackBerry.

Is it just me, or does this app seem tailored to feds? Take the two things feds really love, BlackBerrys and PowerPoint, and combine them. I realize that this was announced at CES, but it could have just as easily been at FOSE.

If you are at CES this week, you can stop by RIM’s booth and see for yourself. If not, RIM tells us that the BlackBerry Presenter will be available soon at ShopBlackBerry.com for $199, and at various retailers.

See, BlackBerry users? Aren’t you glad you didn’t let your app envy get the better of you?

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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