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Hiya, I need to present some options on e-detailing on the tablet format. I'm quite keen to use iPads (as they still carry the "wow" factor imo) but I'm not ruling out Android tablets if that solution ends up being the best.

E-detailing is where sales reps take in a tailored, flashy, presentation to specific clients, walk them through it and hopefully leave with a contract in their pocket. It's a key part of the sales process and quite a lot rides on it, so the presentation needs to be absolutely top notch.

So far I think I've come up with 3 solutions to being able to deliver this via a tablet:

1) Build an app This would be best from the POV of being able to develop a really precise and slick presentation, but it would carry cost implications, and also one huge issue I forsee is that it'd have to go through the app store! I don't think I'd want my competitors downloading my app to have a look at my sales secrets... Is there some way of getting apps onto an iPad without having to go through the store? I know it's possible for Android.

2) Build a mobile site/app Can still make things pretty slick, and the cost will come down, but I worry about sales reps being able to work this offline if their net connection drops. If they were without wifi or in a poor reception area this could be a disaster waiting to happen. Could it all be forced into the cache? Seems a messy solution...

3) Use Keynote or some other presentation tool Very cheap, still quite slick but lacking in wow factor and some features? Can you embed video into presentations like this?

Does anyone have strong opinions on this or answers to the issues I've raised?

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Keynote is definitely the fastest and easiest of the options. On the iPad it has solid animation options and transitions, though it's quite limited compared to the full version. Still, the low barrier to entry will certainly let you play with it and get a sense of whether or not it's right without a lot of effort. –  Matthew Frederick Apr 13 '11 at 12:43
    
I've found two potential "off-shelf" solutions which might hit the requrements namely: e-detailing.co.uk and pitcherapp.com. Both cost a bit but they allow you to wrap up whatever content you like in a C# application shell which can be installed via an organisation's enterprise app store. –  MrFidge Apr 18 '11 at 11:18
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1) Yes, if you join the paid Apple developer program, you can install apps on your own devices without going through the app store. You won't need to release an app to be able to use it. (It's also possible to run self-signed apps on a jailbroken device without joining the program, but that's kind of a pain.)

2) You can cache web applications locally, but there is some extra work involved in doing that. However, it's probably not as steep a learning curve as learning Objective-C. Here's a little information about developing these apps, from the excellent Dive Into HTML5. Local web apps won't be as fast as native apps, and you won't have access to hardware features, like the camera. You can't even upload photos from Safari (which local web apps always run under).

3) Yes, you can add video to presentations in the iPad keynote app. If you go this route, you might also want to get an app that allows you to fill out and sign contracts on the device. There are several of these, but I don't have any experience with them, so I can't make any recommendations.

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