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9/4/2012
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SlideShark For iPhone: PowerPoint In Your Pocket

Brainshark's SlideShark mobile presentation tool has been popular on the iPad, and the iPhone version makes it even more portable.

The iPhone 1.0 Anniversary Quiz
The iPhone 1.0 Anniversary Quiz
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Need PowerPoint in your pocket? SlideShark is coming to the iPhone.

SlideShark is a mobile presentations tool from BrainShark, which also hosts a cloud service for turning presentations into narrated videos that can be used as sales tools and shared on a website, by email, or through social media. When the iPad became popular as a sales tool, Brainshark took the opportunity to turn its expertise toward a simpler requirement--the ability to give presentations from the Apple tablet, where no native version of PowerPoint is available. SlideShark lets you show presentations on the iPad screen or through a projector, using an HDMI or VGA cable, or wirelessly if the projector supports Apple AirPlay.

Now, Brainshark is bringing the same capability to the iPhone.

[ Mobile mashup: Wajam Dodges iPhone Restrictions, Adds Social Search, Maps.]

Gartner research director Michael Gartenberg said SlideShark is a significant product because it allows PowerPoint to be presented "in perfect fidelity," which is a challenge for mobile device applications, including those from Microsoft. "The addition of the iPhone now gives users the ability to carry and present content as it was meant to be presented," he said via email.

Brainshark is also excited about the market opportunity, chief marketing officer Andy Zimmerman said in an interview. "There are tens of millions of iPad users out there, but there are hundreds of millions of iPhone users out there." In terms of empowering business people to seize the opportunity to make a presentation on the spur of the moment, having an iPhone version also makes a difference, he said. "Most of the time people have their phones, but not all of the time do they have their iPad."

SlideShark users can upload an application once and then access it from either an iPhone or an iPad. The iPhone version is different from its iPad cousin mostly in terms of user interface design for a small screen, while providing access to most of the same functions. There are a few exceptions, where actions that work on the iPad didn't translate well to the iPhone. SlideShark on the iPad allows users to rearrange slides or hide slides on an impromptu basis before giving a presentation. On the iPhone, SlideShark users can give presentations but not reorganize them.

As with the flagship Brainshark online sales tool, SlideShark presentations can be shared online via email or social media for viewing on either mobile devices or PCs. SlideShark doesn't turn them into narrated videos, however; it just provides a faithful presentation of the content.

On the iPhone, iPad or an iPod touch, SlideShark users can:

-- Zoom in and out while viewing and showing content using standard "pinch" gestures.

-- Set auto-play with looping for self-running presentations.

-- Create a "laser pointer" effect while presenting to focus the audience's attention.

-- Share links to online versions of presentations for on-demand viewing on any device.

-- Track views of shared presentations with instant email alerts and detailed online reporting when content is viewed by others.

Brainshark originally briefed me on a planned July release of the iPhone app, but it took longer than they expected to get approval for listing in the iTunes App Store. It is hearing demand to bring this app to Android and other mobile platforms, but is focusing on the potential of Apple's devices first because of their popularity with salespeople, Zimmerman said.

SlideShark is offered in a free edition that includes up to 100 MB of storage; SlideShark Plus editions with an additional 500 MB ($49 per year) or 1 GB ($98 per year); and a SlideShark Team Edition introduced earlier this year at $149 per user, per year.

Product director David Klein said being able to project presentations from an iPhone is an important feature, but not the end of the story. "As I go into different offices, I see monitors are becoming bigger and bigger. At the same time, we see phones being used to watch movies. So it's not completely dependent on a large monitor," he said.

In other words, in a pinch, being able to show a presentation on your phone to the person sitting next to you on the train might be just perfect.


Viewing available presentations on an iPhone

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)

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