I've seen other PowerPoint solutions for handheld devices before, but the iGo Pitch Duo opens a new world of flexibility. First it supports a wide range of mobile devices, from Windows Mobile Pocket PC to Palm OS and Symbian Series 60 smartphones. Symbian users will find a copy of the QuickPoint on the software CD plus a copy of QuickWord trial, while Palm users will have a full copy of QuickOffice Pro, including applications compatible with Microsoft Word and Excel.
Users can connect handheld devices via USB using the synchronisation cables supplied with the handhelds or via Bluetooth, using the Anycom Bluetooth adapter supplied with the iGo Pitch Duo. If you decide to use the USB connection, you're welcome to use the Anycom Bluetooth adapter on your laptop or desktop, since the Bluetooth drivers are available on the software CD - although an older 1.2 version.
The iGo Pitch Duo is a small rectangular device, with two USB ports on either side of the device, and in the back we find a monitor output, plus mouse and keyboard PS/2 ports. It fits in one's hand (4.86” L x 3.05” W x 0.9” H), but despite being a very light device it is actually powered by a Pentium class CPU. This means it can get a little hot during operation, but security safeguards prevent overheating.
iGo Pitch Duo, actual size
Monitor/datashow output, mouse and keyboad ports
It supports a variety of handheld devices, but for this review we had it connected via Bluetooth with a Harrier Pocket PC Phone Edition (same as the Sprint PPC-6601, read our review).
Installation is simple, and following the autorun program from the CD gives us the option to install the appropriate iPresenter software for Windows Mobile Pocket PC or Palm devices, or the QuickOffice suite for Palm and Symbian devices. Palm and Symbian users can use either the iPresenter or QuickPoint to control the presentation.
The installation routine will also install a desktop converter on the host computer. This software will create a version of any Microsoft PowerPoint presentation as a sequence of slides in either .png or .jpeg formats. Of course it'll not translate neither animations nor built-in video. The file create (.pit in the Windows Mobile Pocket PC case) is then copied to the PDA. You can have as many presentations you want on your PDA, taking advantage of external storage cards for example. If you're using the QuickPoint on a Palm device you can actually edit the PowerPoint presentation on your handheld, and synchronise it both ways.
Converting a PowerPoint presentation
I've tested a 742KB presentation with both .jpeg and .png formats. The .png results are much better than the .jpeg output. The final conversion resulted in a file with 3.1MB size.
With this file we're ready to present our Microsoft PowerPoint slides from the handheld. In our case we're using a Bluetooth connection, but there's no need for pairing. We have to find what's the correct outgoing COM port used by our Bluetooth software on the Pocket PC (or Palm or Symbian devices), and instruct the iPresenter to connect from there. It'll then connect and automatically download the presentation from the PDA to the device. Tap Start and the slide sequence starts.
Finding what outgoing port my Pocket PC is using
Configuring the iPresenter software
The user interface allows the presenter to go forward and back on the slide deck, with the option of showing the slide on the monitor (or datashow), while showing the slide or comments on the Pocket PC. The slideshow preview comes in four different styles: outline view, slide view, note view or thumbnail view. The program supports 1024x768 color presentations, including VGA, sVGA, XGA.
If a mouse and keyboard are connected to the iGo Pithc Duo then these can be used to move a cursor around the screen or as an input to write comments (on the device, not on the Pocket PC of course).
The slideshow order
What you see...
...is what you get (unless you have your PDA showing other views while presenting)
On the Pocket PC the iPresenter software will allow small changes - those ones that we always do minutes before the presentation. For example you can hide slides, or change the order of the presentation. You can't actually add or change a slide, since the iPresenter is only a viewer. If you have anyone in the office able to edit the presentation and convert to the appropriate format, then this file can be sent via wireless e-mail to your device - great for connected Pocket PC (via wireless LAN or Phone Edition), Treo devices and Symbian smartphones. Of course Palm users will be able to make changes directly on their devices using the QuickPoint software supplied.
Multiple devices supported
Comes with a nice leather carrying case
Spare Bluetooth dongle
Great impression to the audience
Palm users get QuickOffice suite
Viewer software requires conversion, but no big deal
No QuickOffice version available for Pocket PC