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Spb Mobile Shell Review

Spb Mobile Shell Delivers Best Windows Mobile User Interface Enhancement, Today Plug-Ins and Launcher Menu

Spb Mobile ShellAs I mentioned last week in my Moving to Windows Mobile Treo Pro post one of the most unique and useful features of Windows Mobile is its powerful and versatile Today screen.

I particularly love how the Today screen allows you not only to quickly view important information such as your Messages and Appointments but also provides fast on-screen One-Click access to other equally useful applications such as Google Search and Messenger as well as a new Comm Manager (screenshot below right) found on the Treo Pro that allows you to quickly control your Phone, Bluetooth, WiFi, Microsoft Direct Push and Data Connection.

 Windows-Mobile-Today Windows-Mobile-Comm-Manager

Additionally, each corner of the Today screen conveniently triggers a different application.  The top left corner opens the Start Menu (below left) that is a simple application Launcher and gives you quick access to Programs and Settings.  The top right corner opens a new on-screen Task Manager (below right) that allows you to quickly view your available Program Memory and view and/or close any currently running applications (thanks to multithreading Windows Mobile allows you to run multiple apps simultaneously).

 Windows-Mobile-Today-Start Windows-Mobile-Task-Manager

At the same time, the bottom left corner (image below left) gives you direct access to your Contacts while the bottom right corner opens Pocket Internet Explorer.

 Windows-Mobile-Contacts Windows-Mobile-Pocket-Explorer

Overall, having the ability to access such a multitude of information and applications via a simple one click from the Today screen is clearly extremely useful and a rather efficient way to get things done quickly.

Having said this, as I have outlined above, while the standard Windows Mobile Today screen and its many other user interface ramifications are certainly “great” they fall short of “brilliant”.  As I quickly learned using my Windows Mobile Treo Pro, if you want to discover “brilliant” you’ll first need to install Spb Mobile Shell.

Best Windows Mobile User InterfaceSpb Mobile Shell is an absolutely essential application that completely and radically transforms the user interface on your Windows Mobile device and overall it’s a utility that very significantly and meaningfully enhances your overall smartphone experience on a daily basis.  To be honest I feel that Spb Mobile Shell has actually played a very significant role in my recent move to the Treo Pro and helping me to overcome some of the reservations that I had about its Windows Mobile operating system.

Now that I’ve properly introduced this superb application, let’s take a closer look at exactly what Spb Mobile Shell does and how it enhances your Treo Pro or Treo 800w smartphone. 

 Windows-Mobile-Programs Windows-Mobile-Settings

For starters, as you can appreciate from the screenshots above and below, the “before” and “after” look and feel of the standard Programs and Settings for example is completely revamped by Spb Mobile Shell and becomes a great deal more user friendly.  Among others, these screens conveniently organise folders at the top while leaving any remaining cells free to be populated by the most recent applications that you have opened from within those folders.

 Spb Mobile Shell - Programs Spb Mobile Shell - Settings

Going back to the Today screen below, here Spb Mobile Shell provides you with four unique tabs – Home, Time, Weather and Dial – which are lined up horizontally in four cells that allow you to quickly access applications, view information and dial favourite numbers.

 Spb Mobile Shell - Today Tabs Spb Mobile Shell - Today Screen

The first Home Tab (below right) is opened by tapping on its battery icon (that conveniently displays remaining battery power) which opens a “quick launcher” panel that allows you to launch up to 12 of your most recently used applications or you can even set up to 12 of your favourite and most regularly used apps.

The second Time Tab (below left) displays the current time in a graphically rich analog clock and the panel that it opens shows the local time for three world cities of your choice as well as quick view and access to your alarms.

 Spb Mobile Shell - Today Home Tab Spb Mobile Shell - Today Time Tab

The third Weather Tab (below left) offers a rich graphic of today’s weather plus forecast temperatures and conditions for Night, Morning, Day and Evening as well as a full four day forecast.  It’s amazingly well implemented and I find myself using it all the time.

The fourth Dial Tab (below right) meanwhile provides you with five quick-dial cells from where you can either call with one click or also send a text message by pressing and holding the cell (which also shows you all available numbers for that contact).

 Spb Mobile Shell - Today Weather Tab Spb Mobile Shell - Today Dial Tab

Another thing that Spb Mobile Shell does after installation is reassign the Windows button on your smartphone so that it stops launching the Start Menu and instead opens Spb’s own menu (below left) which is much more complete showing your 12 most recently used applications at the top and six other folders (Organizer, Internet, Multimedia, Tools, Programs and Settings) from where you can quickly find and launch your apps.  Virtually the only complaint that I have here is that once inside a folder a quick keyboard search (type “G” to find Google Maps for example) is unfortunately not (yet) supported.

 Spb Mobile Shell - Start Spb Mobile Shell - Now

At the bottom of Spb Mobile Shell’s menu are three other icons.  The first on the left takes you to the Now Screen (screenshot above right) displaying a large date and time, weather, missed calls and unread messages, phone profile (to quickly set to Normal, Silent or Vibrate) as well as next alarms, appointments, calendar and battery and signal levels.

 Spb Mobile Shell - Contacts Spb Mobile Shell - Contacts

The next icon is for Contacts (above) where you can add up to 11 photo or name speed dials, view more detailed contact information as well as access Spb Mobile Shell’s own Contacts application (which I found to be only moderately useful).

Perhaps even more importantly, one of the coolest and visually stunning aspects of these Spb Mobile Shell screens is that they offer a range of superb “transition animations” – with effects such as sweeping, sliding, folding, revolving and flipping – that make it an absolute pleasure to interact with this application and ensures that you properly impress those who mistakenly believe that the only device capable of doing this sort of thing is the iPhone.

Overall, Spb Mobile Shell is without a doubt one of the best value applications that you can install on your Windows Mobile Treo smartphone.  I absolutely love the Today add-ins that it offers (particularly the quick launch and weather) and its much more complete Menu to access your applications is both very rich graphically and extremely modern thanks to its animated transitions.

Spb Mobile Shell is available from our Windows Mobile Software Store normally priced at $29.95 but thanks to our 20% off coupon code you can now get it for only $23.96.  Simply enter the coupon code BESTSELLERS in your cart to apply this discount.

Separately, if you’re looking for some more in-depth information about the Treo Pro please read these previous posts:

Treo Pro Now Available In Treonauts Store
Moving to Windows Mobile Treo Pro
Treo Pro Specifications
Treo Pro Review
Treo Pro Preview

Treonauts always look for the very best


Posted by Andrew on October 9, 2008 at 10:51 AM

Windows Mobile Software

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Comments

1
by Rick | Oct 9, 2008 3:01:37 PM

Hi Andrew,
Thanks for the wonderful review. I am a diehard Palm fan and just placed my order for the Treo Pro. I will be converting from the Palm OS for the first time in 10+ years and am a bit frightened. Your experiences have relieved some of my fears.

Quick question, how does Spb Mobile shell "play" with Windows and other third party applications such as the Palm emulator? For example does it cause crashes and frequent resets? Does it bog the system down to a crawl?

Thank you again,
Rick

2
by bulls96 | Oct 9, 2008 7:33:43 PM

Could you post videos please? that would be a great help for newbies.

3
by Andrew | Oct 10, 2008 6:07:49 AM

bulls96 - Thanks for the video suggestion. I will update this post or write a new post along with full video of the Treo Pro in the coming days.

Cheers, A.

4
by Mike | Oct 10, 2008 8:59:24 AM

As a user of SPB Shell, Pocket Plus, Time, Phone and Imageer (lol, they make GREAT software) I can fully endorse Andrew here...and will add my 2 cents.

For me..first thing I do is strip down the WM "Today Screen" bare..with so many plugins that get added it becomes a hot mess on that screen...lol

Next, I assign the Windows Button the "Now" screen and also to go to the Now screen from "power off", that way my default screen becomes the Now Screen, whicc is a prefect interface to see quikcly and clearly what you need to get to, SMS, Mail, Missed Calles , the time, Weather, Calendar entry.

From there, with a simply slide to the left ro right with my finger, I can get to my COntacts or Applications page in the SHell (or I can hit the green phone button to get to my today screen to do a quick dial).

As Andrew said, it is a beyond essential application to make your WM6 or 6.1 pleasurable

5
by Mike | Oct 10, 2008 9:03:31 AM

also to add that I was a 650, then a 700p user on Verizon before work switched to AT&T and I ended up on a WM6 750 (pro is next for me when At&T releases it).

For thos Palm OS lovers, I was once with you, and it is a great simple to use OS.

But once you let it go that you cannot get to every app in one quick button press (you just cannot in WM6, some you can , but others you need a few presses)
you really do ge tused to and start to like the WM6.

6
by Eimy | Dec 3, 2008 9:56:18 PM

I was a bit skeptical to move from palm os, but this application makes it a lot easier for me to love my new treo pro, it makes me miss less my treo 650.

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
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