LAS VEGAS-Research In Motion on Jan. 6 announced the BlackBerry Presenter, a device that plugs into a projector or monitor to allow the user to give PowerPoint presentations from a BlackBerry smartphone. The announcement comes as RIM and other tech companies head here to demonstrate their latest products at the Consumer Electronics Show, held Jan. 7 to 10.
RIM is attempting to cast the BlackBerry Presenter as a product that can spare space-strapped road warriors from having to bring a laptop on short business trips.
"Mobile professionals are always looking to carry less when traveling," Glenn Laxdal, vice president of Product Management for RIM, said in a statement. "BlackBerry Presenter equips mobile professionals with a simple, secure and convenient way to deliver presentations directly from their BlackBerry smartphone, giving them the freedom to leave their laptops behind."
The device, which is being displayed at CES and will be available at an unknown later date for $199, weighs 140 grams and supports most PowerPoint animations and transitions. RIM claimed that no additional file processing will be required in order to display the slides, and that users will be able to "view speaker notes, loop presentation slides and even reference information on one slide while displaying another."
For those who like to wander around the boardroom during their presentations, the BlackBerry Presenter supports roaming of up to 30 feet between it and a BlackBerry smartphone.
Although the BlackBerry line of smartphones continues to be popular in the enterprise and among consumers, RIM has found itself challenged in recent years by the rise of competitors such as Apple that have sought to provide much of the same business-oriented functionality while incorporating popular applications such as iTunes.
RIM has also made tweaks to its BlackBerry server line. The BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0, announced in May 2009, was designed to improve security for e-mail, organizer data, instant messaging and enterprise applications; in addition, it allows IT administrators to use a Web-based interface and "push" mandatory applications and updates to individuals within a company.
At the same time, however, RIM has sought to embrace the consumer market more heartily with the release of devices such as the BlackBerry Curve 8520, which includes mechanical "Play/Pause/Mute" and "Previous/Next" keys for music on its outer rim.