As a BlackBerry® Evangelist, I frequently find myself on the road and needing to make presentations. These trips are usually quick day trips, so I don’t take a lot of baggage. I am sure most road warriors are in the same boat. Over time, we all have learned how to travel light. Well, I’d like to offer a way to travel a little lighter: leave the laptop at home.


I can hear your response. “What? I’d rather leave my pants at home, I can get pants wherever. But my laptop I must have for my email and presentations”. That is 20th century thinking. When I am on the road, all I need is my BlackBerry® Bold™ 9900 and my BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet.


Allow me to explain. You probably already get your email on you BlackBerry phone, right? That makes email on your laptop redundant. Sure, composing long emails and reading attachments on a phone screen can be challenging. That’s why I also carry my BlackBerry PlayBook. I use the BlackBerry® Bridge™ application to link my BlackBerry® Bold and BlackBerry PlayBook together. Now, I can read and compose emails on the larger PlayBook screen.


Setting up BlackBerry Bridge couldn’t be easier. First, make sure you have Bluetooth enabled on both devices. Next, open the system menu on the PlayBook by swiping down from the top bezel while on the home screen. Select BlackBerry Bridge from the left, click the Setup button and follow the prompts.



The setup will download any necessary software to both your PlayBook and your phone and will pair the devices. That’s it! Now, you will see a BlackBerry Bridge group on the home screen of your PlayBook. Open this group to get access to email, calendar, tasks, and other information stored on your phone.



Okay, so email is simple. But I bet you are still wondering, “what about the presentations”? The answer is also simple;I can run presentations from my BlackBerry PlayBook by either one of two ways: One, if it is a simple BlackBerry PowerPoint presentation without animations or embedded video, I use Docs To Go. This application is already on your BlackBerry PlayBook and it enables you to read and edit any Microsoft Office file such as PowerPoint.


However, if the PowerPoint is a little more intense with animations or embedded video, then I opt to use a second means: my Microsoft Skydrive account. Before I hit the road, I copy the presentation from my desktop to a Skydrive folder then access Skydrive through the browser on my PlayBook. The first time you access Skydrive, it will load in mobile mode, that’s not what you want. Zip down to the bottom and turn on the full site. Once you do, it will be automatically remembered, so you won’t have to do it again. In full site mode, you can run your PowerPoint with Microsoft’s online viewer. It has all the same great features as the desktop PowerPoint so you can see slide animations and embedded video. Of course this method does require an Internet connection to run the presentation.


To display the presentation, the PlayBook has a built in HDMI port so hooking up to modern projectors is a snap. Unfortunately in my travels, I have encountered a few not-so-modern projectors. Not to worry, I use an HDMI to VGA adapter cable to connect to older projectors. The one I have works great and only cost about $20 USD from Amazon.


Another great thing about using this configuration for presentations is a little known feature in BlackBerry® Bridge™: remote control. When your BlackBerry phone is bridged to the PlayBook, if you launch the bridge application on your phone, you will see a button to use the phone as a remote control for your PlayBook.



Basically, the touchscreen on my BlackBerry Bold becomes a remote touchpad for the PlayBook. I use this to navigate to and load my presentation. Once the presentation is started, I switch the remote control to Presenter mode by selecting this option from the main application menu.



Now, I can use the onscreen buttons or the volume keys on my phone to move forward or backwards in my presentation. Any of you who have seen me present, know I wander when I talk. This setup allows me that freedom, whereas my laptop insists I stay close by.


So that’s just a few of the ways I use my BlackBerry devices when on the road. There is so much you can do with a BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry phone you don’t need to take a laptop. In fact, I am writing this blog on my PlayBook while traveling back from Atlanta. I left my laptop at home. I wonder if it misses me.