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Reviews

SBSH Mobile Software PocketBreeze v5

By Stephen Skarlatos November 17, 2005, 12:00 am

INTRODUCTION

I recently become a user of WebIS' latest version of Pocket Informant which we've recently reviewed. One of the great attributes of Pocket Informant is its ability to tie all Personal Information Management data together in a single application, however you must launch the program to gain access to that data. Microsoft Windows Mobile has plug-ins for the Today screen to view upcoming tasks, calendar events and email summary counts without having to launch a PIM application. However, these plug-ins do not allow you to manipulate the data without launching the associated PIM application. The ideal situation would be to have a Today screen plug-in that would allow you to work with that data;

POCKETNOW VIDEO OF THE DAY

SBSH Mobile Software Breeze v5.0 is a plug-in designed to do just that. Let's see how it works.

WHAT'S HOT

PocketBreeze version 5 provides some great new features including full support for Windows Mobile 5.0:

  • Manage all your written and voice notes
  • View your inbox folder and SMS/MMS message titles
  • Create new appointments or tasks using PI templates for PI users
  • Support for both horizontal or vertical tab layout
  • Unlimited support for custom tabs
  • The ability to add additional Today screen plug-ins as custom tab

SETUP

The program installation is performed with a standard setup process on the PC.

On the option screen a choice to install the sample icon set is available, in addition to PocketBreeze. The icon set can be used to identify categories which are displayed with the associated appointments and tasks.

On WM 5.0 a publisher certificate is not available, and validation is required by tapping yes. As of this writing I have not found any applications which have a valid certificate, even applications from Microsoft.

On WM 5.0 the installation location for the application is requested, rather than in ActiveSync (as with WM 2002/2003) making it easier to install using a .cab file directly on the device.

PocketBreeze is integrated with the most popular PIM applications. PocketBreeze version 5 supports the default Microsoft PIM, WebIS' Pocket Informant, and DeveloperOne's Agenda Fusion. The ability to add a custom PIM is also available to access the calendar, task, and contact data.

PROGRAM FEATURES

The PocketBreeze version 5 Today screen plug-in integrates with a PIM's functions using the concepts of tabs identified by icons. There are 5 default tabs; calendar, tasks, notes, messaging and special events. You can also add your own custom tabs with icons for other Today screen plug-ins.

The PocketBreeze display is divided into two sections. The top section, delimited by the red box, contains the tab icons on the right and associated grouping/filter options on left of the wrench (settings) icon. The bottom section, delimited by the yellow box, contains the selected tab's associated data. In this screen shot, the calendar tab is selected with the option set to display tasks.

The tab icons can also be displayed vertically on the left.

PocketBreeze is fully compatible with Windows Mobile native landscape mode.

The are many areas of the applications which can be customized.

The data can easily be filtered using categories.

From the calendar tab, the ability to directly create new appointments and tasks is available. A great feature for Pocket Informant users is the direct use of appointment and task templates.

A tap and hold on an appointment or task brings up a menu with many useful manipulation options.

A time line view pop up is displayed by tapping and holding on the timeline icon associated with a specific day. Appointments can be created directly from the timeline display.

A monthly view can be summoned by tapping on the month icon on the left of the PocketBreeze top section display. There is also a setting to pin the calendar permanently to the bottom of the view.

The task tab provides for many task oriented options.

The notes tab lists all your text and audio notes. It allows for the display to be easily customized.

The messaging tab provides access and preview of email, SMS and MMS services configured in Windows Mobile.

The special occasion tab provides a display of birthdays and anniversaries from the the contact database, as well as appointments associated with selected categories. In this view the holiday category within 30 days was selected.

PocketBreeze allows you to add currently installed Today plug-ins as tab icons. This allows for easy access to plug-ins without sacrificing the Today screen's real estate.

PocketBreeze is an all-encompassing Today screen management utility with special focus on providing easy access to your favorite PIM.

HELP SUPPORT

A well written manual, in Word or PDF formats, is available for download from here. Unfortunately, the table of contents is not linked, and there is no index. I did not encounter any issues during the preparation for this review but the SBSH Mobile Software forum here seems well attended to. Even though there are a large number of settings, the defaults seem to satisfy most needs.

Options

PocketBreeze can associate icons to categories for highlighting calendar and task data. There is also an ability to create a smart filter that allows the selection of multiple categories which can be accessed from the filter button on the Today screen.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

PocketBreeze version 5 will run on Windows Mobile 2002, 2003, 2003SE and 5.0. The programs runs in about 750KB of RAM depending on how the options are set and the amount of data needed to load the display.

BUGS AND WISHES

I found no problems with PocketBreeze version 5 running on my Axim X51v with Windows Mobile 5.0. PocketBreeze can be painfully slow to load the first time it is executed, and whenever you make a setting change. Once the data has been cached, swapping between tabs is fast. Here are some wishes for future enhancements:

The notes tab should provide for integration with Phatware's PhatPad and PhatNotes.

The messaging tab settings should include a way to filter which mailboxes to display.

The messaging tab should provide a menu option for send/receive.

The ability to filter multiple categories on the main filter button rather than having to set up smart filters.

PURCHASING

You can download a trial version of PocketBreeze or purchase it for $14.95 from Handango here or PocketGear here. There is also a competitive upgrade offer for current users of a Today screen plug-in here.

Pros

  • Excellent integration with WebIS' Pocket Informant
  • Intuitive D-Pad option for one handed movement between tabs and scrolling within bottom section
  • Good value

Cons

  • No integration with Phatware's PhatPad or PhatNotes
  • Improved messaging integration needed
  • Slow initial data load time
  • No linked table of contents or index in manual

OVERALL IMPRESSION

This a well thought through add-on to manage PIM data from the Today screen, and for $14.95 a very good value. There is a lot of functionality in this plug-in, and the tight integration with Pocket Informant makes this a must have Today screen plug-in. This is a great productivity enhancement tool. This is now my Window into Pocket Informant.

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