SPB Mobile Shell 3.0

I've used SPB Mobile Shell on my Windows Mobile phones since it was released. Basically it hides the ghastly UI of WM and replaces it with something more usable (and nice to look at).

This makes a Windows Mobile phone almost bearable to use although there is one problem, the shell is only so "deep" and sooner or later you are back in the horrid WM interface for real!

Windows Mobile manufacturers such as HTC (with its Touch interface) and Samsung (with the Omnia) have released similar shells but this one works with any WM phone.

Version 2 was competent although there were some obvious gaps that in the main the new version 3 has filled. It was interesting to see that many of these functions had started to be added as part of third party "Skins" for SPB Mobile Shell 2 (such as these) which allowed WiFi to be toggled etc but this did start to get complicated to install and setup.

Here's what I like about v3:
  • New "Android-like" so called "Lifestyle" layout extends over three screens (left and right) with the same background and lets you position your own shortcut icons to contacts, programs, unread email etc
  • Easy to use Wireless Manager to turn on/off Bluetooth, Wifi etc
  • Easy to use redesigned contact shortcuts with photos
  • New calendar function avoids need to use the WM calendar
  • Can set up SPB Mobile Shell itself without the stylus or any tinkering in File Manager
So it's possible to use the phone pretty much without the stylus to:
  • Make calls
  • Turn wireless on/off
  • Launch apps
  • Use the calendar
  • Look at contacts
It would, however, be nice to be able to do more without using WM, in particular email and text messaging need the use of WM (and the stylus) which is a shame. I also find having both the "Professional" and "Lifestyle" views confusing and think it would be better if you just selected one of them rather than both being available.

SPB Mobile Shell costs 30USD (around 24UKP at current exchange rates) which isn't so cheap. Upgrades are a more reasonable 15USD (12UKP). There is a free no catch fully functional 14 day trial version so I would recommend downloading that and seeing if it is worth the money. Lots of WM software looks expensive compared with the iPhone apps!
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