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New App Helps iPad Make PowerPoint Play



If an army marches on its stomach, then road warriors proverbially march on their PowerPoint presentations — more than 30 million presentations are created daily, according to Microsoft. While many PowerPoint users would love to be able to play their presentations on their iPads, which are rapidly becoming the device of choice for mobile workers, Steve Jobs' brainchild doesn't play well with Bill Gates' presentation software. A new app launched today changes that.

SlideShark, a free app now available at Apple's App Store, eliminates the headaches associated with importing and viewing PowerPoint on the iPad. Even the best of workarounds, such as Apple's own Keynote, are unable to render PowerPoint with any consistency, according to Brainshark, the company behind Slide Shark. Animations and other advanced functionality are especially problematic.

The new cloud-based app allows users to preserve animations, fonts, graphics and colors in their presentations and use familiar iPad gestures such as swiping or tapping to advance animations and slides. Users can also download presentations and play them locally with no Internet connection required and project their slides from an iPad 2 by connecting to a TV or VGA projector.

"It's PowerPoint on the iPad the way it was meant to see seen," said Jay Wilder, Brainshark's director of product marketing.

Here's how it works. Users upload their PowerPoint files to a free, secure online SlideShark account. The files are automatically converted to an iPad-optimized viewing format that a user can download and view using their iPad's SlideShark app, which requires iOS 3.2 or later.

SlideShark will accept presentations up to 100 MB (or the storage limits of a user's account). Free storage is currently limited to 25 MB. The parent company is offering SlideShark for free as a way to gain additional exposure for Brainshark's other cloud-based products that enable users to create, share and track online and mobile presentations, said Andy Zimmerman, Brainshark's chief marketing officer.

"We're looking at upgrade versions down the road," Zimmerman told BusinessNewsDaily.

Those options may include storage upgrades and multiuser options, he said.

"We do plan on also having an Android application," Zimmerman said.

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.


Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.