We saw this thing during WES and thought the idea was pretty cool, but $250 bucks for a PowerPoint brick seemed like a little much. Regardless, there is an ample market for salespeople who do a lot of corporate presentations to have something like this kicking around the office, making it a worthy investment. We had a brief look over the ShowMate a while ago, and thought it merited a closer look.
In short, the Impatica ShowMate allows you to review and conduct PowerPoint presentations from your BlackBerry. After installing a handheld and desktop client, you convert the presentations into a compressed format and transfer the file by USB to your BlackBerry. A bundled Impatica Slide Viewer lets you view the compressed presentations. Grabbing your ShowMate, you go to your presentation location, hook it up to the projector and pair up your BlackBerry to it via Bluetooth. From your BlackBerry you can change slides and view notes.
After hearing about the issue with the PowerPoint viewer not showing the graphics, Impatica thought something fishy was up, so they sent us a brand new ShowMate under the presumption that we had a faulty unit. Lo and behold, after a full reinstallation, the viewer worked fine. As for the ShowMate itself, we found the Bluetooth range was way better and the display wasn’t off-centre. Who knows what was wrong with the last one, but this ShowMate worked like a charm.
The first thing that had to be done after the PC installation was a quick registration on Impatica’s website in order to get our activation code. Standard information was required, like phone number and company type. Next up we had to download the handheld client, which was just a bit confusing. The URL given after desktop installation was wrong, so we had to poke around for an FAQ which pointed us to a different OTA download site, which worked.
As for the hardware itself, the ShowMate plugged in to our computer monitor easily and the power adaptor came with a variety of interchangeable plugs, so you’re set for whichever part of the world you might be in. The brick was powered by miniUSB, so you could charge your BlackBerry with it, too. Handiness.
The device itself was a little beefy, but sturdy enough to handle transportation without worry. The handheld software was laid out very cleanly, and a cinch to navigate in the middle of a presentation with minimal fumbling.
As you may recall, BIS 2.3 included PowerPoint viewing functions, rendering the bundled Impatica Presentation Viewer a little redundant. Even if that wasn’t the case, most of the graphics were on their sample presentation were blacked out, so you still didn’t have a great idea what the PowerPoint was going to look like on screen. The only bonus you have on using the “Impaticized” PowerPoint format is saving space, which is actually very helpful for larger presentations which you can’t download OTA.