I have the latest accessory from RIM called the BlackBerry Presenter: a means of displaying PowerPoint presentations from your BlackBerry to a projector. The way it works is fairly simple. To get started, you do the following:
- Download the Presenter app to your BlackBerry.
- Connect the Presenter to a power outlet.
- Connect your projector to the Presenter.
- Pair your BlackBerry to the Presenter.
- Open a PowerPoint file and in the menu section select “Present”.
After using the device with several different types of PowerPoint presentations, I can say that this accessory had some serious drawbacks, but also more potential than any other accessory RIM has ever made.
Getting started with the BlackBerry Presenter was a little awkward at first because the manual asks you to download the BlackBerry Presenter Desktop client, which didn’t seem to work for me. I downloaded the client, but even after restarting my PC, double clicking on it did nothing, with or without the Presenter plugged in. It’s also worth noting that there doesn’t seem to be any Presenter Desktop Software for Mac. I decided to simply skip this step, and assume the Presenter was running recent software.
To get started, you have to download the Presenter software found at blackberry.com/presenter. The app is fairly large considering it seems pretty basic. Once you have the app downloaded, it’s time to hook up the Presenter.
To hook up the Presenter, simply plug in your projector and the power cable. The power cable is the standard Micro-USB, so if you happen to lose it, you can always use one from your BlackBerry.
After hooking everything up and installing the app, now you have to pair the two devices. Pairing the Presenter is the same as pairing any accessory, except the Numeric Passkey is found in the Presenter’s name, rather than the standard “0000″. My Presenter’s name is “BlackBerry Presenter – 3132″ meaning the passkey is “3132″.
Once you have everything booted up, you’re going to want to get a PowerPoint presentation file from your device. I used a few different PowerPoint files and getting them from my email was simple. Although the manual says you can present directly from an opened attachment, I found no such feature. Instead, I downloaded the attachment and saved them in my Documents folder. Next, open the Presenter app and browse your media card for the file. Open it and in the menu select “Present.” Here is where the accessory took a turn for the worst.
The lag on the BlackBerry Presenter was way too much. When you initially present a file, it gets sent to the Presenter over Bluetooth and then displayed on the projector. The Presenter is doing all the work which will have some benefits down the road when RIM wants to implement video, but for now it seems to be creating a lot of lag for even small files. I have tried two types of PowerPoint files, both .PPT and .PPTX. The .PPTX was brutally slow loading at first, and the whole experience was filled with awkward delays. Clicking to the next slide took at least 3 seconds, which doesn’t seem like much but it’s a lot if you’re doing a quick/high intensity presentation. When loading .PPT files, the experience was a little better, but the initial load time was still more than what I would have liked.
Tip: If you’re going to present with the Presenter, know that the initial load time is significant, so don’t jump right into the presentation and have everyone waiting while they stare at a blank screen.
There BlackBerry Presenter, while it’s initially a little awkward due to the lag, has a ton of potential. Since the Presenter does all the work, RIM will be able to open the device up to new types of media. Eventually, you’ll be able to combine the BlackBerry Presenter, with the BlackBerry Media Gateway, to make a full BlackBerry Entertainment system. Until then, the Presenter is a pretty good accessory for small and to-the-point presentations.