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Presentation Cards for Your Pocket PC
by Tong Zhang, Senior Editor

IA Presenter CompactFlash Card (type I) for Pocket PC

IA Presenter is one of the most popular presentation tools for the Pocket PC and Handheld PCs. This reasonably priced CF Type I card is compatible with type I and type II CF slots. IA Presenter can display up to 1024x768 resolution, supports 64K colors and 256 colors, converts desktop files to handheld versions and provides ton of great features that you will need to give a presentation with your PDA.

Installation

The CDROM will auto start the installation process when you pop it in your computer. There is a main menu for you to choose which applications on the CD you want to install. The list includes the full version of all the bundled software in this package and three trial applications made by IA Style. There is a list of languages at the bottom of this menu screen. You can pick the language you want by clicking on the one of the choices. There is also a Quick Installation Guide in MS Word format to help you with the install process in case you have any questions. The IA Presenter application and the driver take no more than 1MB memory. After you install the driver, you can connect the CF Card to the cable, plug the CF Card into your PDA and VGA output to your projector or TV.

IA Presenter Converter

After you’ve installed the driver and IA Presenter software, you can transfer your PowerPoint presentations from desktop to the handheld. IA Presenter Converter will convert the desktop version to handheld version. You can utilize the Converter in two ways. The IA Presenter Converter can be used as the default converter in ActiveSync for all PowerPoint presentations or as a stand-alone app that you can use to convert the files before moving them to the Pocket PC. Either way, you will have options to determine the display size, output quality and check to keep slide shapes information if your slides contain animations. Another convenient feature in IA Presenter Converter is that it places a shortcut button in MS PowerPoint’s toolbar. With one click of the shortcut button, your presentations will be converted to pocket version and are ready to go. Once the files are converted and moved to the Pocket PC, you can open them with the IA Presenter application.

IA Presenter does a great job of representing a variety of fonts, but make sure your presentation fonts are at least 20 point and 24 point or above for best results. Otherwise, your text may not be readable.

IA Presenter on the Pocket PC

The interface of IA Presenter on the Pocket PC is very easy to understand and convenient to use. The main screen displays the current slide as well as thumbnails of other slides. On top of the main screen, there is a slide selector that lists all the slides. You can jump to any page by selecting it here. At the bottom of the main screen, you will find a menu that includes Edit, View and Tools. There are also two shortcut buttons for flipping slides and changing the thumbnail view to VGA Slide Show, Slide Show, Normal view, Slide Sorter, Notes Page and Quick Notes without changing the current slide view. Long presentations, such as our 79 page test PowerPoint presentation with animations and transitions ran just fine on IA Presenter.

The IA Presenter on the Pocket PC isn’t meant for editing content of your slides but rather for manipulating the way you present them. In the Edit menu, you can delete certain slide or select the slides you want in your slide show. If you didn’t put transition effects in your presentation on the desktop, you will find all the tools you need to add any transition you want at three speeds and even sound effects or notes. Very convenient! The View menu allows you to show your slide in any supported format including Zoom. The Tools menu gives you the ability to insert slides from another presentation, save files, set up a slide show and set up Options. In Options, you can set up maximum number of undo steps (from 1 to 30), specify color optimization, VGA output and mode and set up your remote control if you need to use it.

 

IA Presenter for Pocket PC

Above: card and cable, below remote.

IA Presenter Remote

 

VGA Display and Remote Control

Once the slide show is set up, you can start your presentation on the big screen with your CF card and cable plugged in. The VGA connector on the cable has three output modes: VGA, Composite (RCA) and S-video and they are marked so that you know which one is for what display device. Make sure that you select the correct VGA output mode in the Options on your Pocket PC.

As soon as you select Slide Show in the View menu, the presentation slides will display in full screen mode on your Pocket PC and can be displayed in either portrait or landscape mode. There is a shortcut button embedded in the slide show that will trigger a pop-up menu. This menu allows you to control how the slides will be presented and even has a “blackboard” feature that projects a black screen on which you can draw digital ink strokes. The Pen function gives you the ability to write on the slides in various colors and pen widths, and clear the marks you made with the pen after you are done. The pop-up menu also allows you to navigate the slides and jump to any page in the presentation. If you are using VGA projector/TV, you can turn your stylus into a laser pointer. You can modify the VGA zoom in terms of size and rotation.

IA Presenter slide show also offers one of the features most people will need during a presentation, the ability to access notes and view thumbnails of the entire presentation, etc. on the Pocket PC without showing it on the big screen.

The remote control that comes with IA Presenter is a very useful accessory for you to control the presentation directly from the VGA screen. There are three modes available with the remote control. VGA Go-To-Thumbnail mode allows you to navigate through thumbnails of your slide; VGA Zoom Mode gives you the ability to zoom on the areas of a specific slide; and VGA Pointer mode turns the remote control into a laser pointer.

PowerPoint Special Effects Support and other PDA features

IA Presenter does a good job of preserving the original PowerPoint files with transition effect and control options, as well as animation and shape support. Not only can you keep your transition effects, you can also add them right on your Pocket PC. Linking to sound files and Speaker Notes are also supported in IA Presenter. You can create and edit speaker notes on your handheld and display notes using ClearType.

Different view modes on the PDA gives you the freedom to navigate slides, arrange slide shows and manage your presentation. Not only can you copy/delete, shuffle your slides and save them into a new file, but also send the presentations via email or infrared.

If you purchase the IA Presenter CF VGA Card package, you will also get full version of two other software applications that IA makes, IA Album is for viewing and managing images and IA Screen Mirror is for projecting the Pocket PC’s screen to a projector/TV monitor.

IA Screen Mirror

Bundled with IA Presenter, IA Screen Mirror allows you to mirror your handheld’s screen using a projector, CRT or TV monitor. The options in IA Screen Mirror are extensive, giving you rich features in how you want to present your demos from your PDA. There are several Layout options in IA Screen Mirror, including View Arrangement, Stretch data to fit and rotate the screen left. If you choose to split the screen, you can use the Switch option to arrange and select the active view. There is also a Refresh option tab as well as a VGA option tab to help you set various refresh rates and VGA resolution settings.

IA Screen Mirror gives you plenty of options to set up an on-screen demo, but it does slow down your Pocket PC a little bit. You many also notice the frame rate slowing and becoming choppy if you are showing moving pictures at high frame rate (i.e. games or movies). This application is more suited to show product demos using still images or moving pictures/applications that don’t rely on high frame rates.


Everything is great, what do you need to watch out for?

The cable that comes with the IA Presenter package is 3 feet long. If you plan on using the handheld to control the presentation and need to be at a greater distance, make sure your VGA/S-video cable is long enough to accommodate. The IA Presenter does a pretty good job of converting fonts as long as you keep the size at 20 point or above. If you have embedded image files, make sure to select both conversion and display graphic quality levels to Super Fine or high resolution to keep as much integrity of the images as possible, especially on the TV monitor. IA Screen Mirror cannot handle high frame rate demos at a smooth pace.

Specs and Price

Supported Devices and Desktop
Pocket PC device support includes iPAQ 3600 through 5450 with expansion sleeve, HP Jornada 540 and 560 series, Dell Axim X5, NEC Mobile Pro, Pocket LOOX, Toshiba e550G/e570/e740 and more. For the complete list of Pocket PC and HPC models supported, click here.
Desktop/laptop PC support includes Win 98, 98SE, ME, NT, 2000 and XP. Microsoft PowerPoint 97, 2000 and XP.

Supported output
VGA/SVGA/XGA, NTSC/PAL Composite Video, S-Video Output

Package includes
IA Presenter CF Card with protective case, 3-foot long one-to-three cable that supports HD-15 VGA connector, composite video and S-Video output, 14-key infrared remote control and a black nylon pouch, CDROM, Manual booklet.

Language Support
English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Traditional and Simplified Chinese.

Software bundle and Price
IA Presenter software, IA Presenter Converter, IA Album and IA Screen Mirror. Trial software of other IA Style’s products

Price: $99.95 One Year Warranty

Web Site: http://www.iastyle.com

 

Other Presentation Solutions we've Reviewed:

Palm OS solutions
Margi Presenter-to-Go (SD and Memory Stick cards)

Pocket PC

Margi Presenter-to-Go CF Card

FlyPresenter CF VGA Card

 

 

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