Spb has released the much anticipated update of Mobile Shell. The new Spb Mobile Shell 3.0 is probably one of the most advanced interfaces we have ever seen. First spotted at Mobile World Conference 2009, Spb had us wondering when the final version would be available, and now we can all enjoy this unique application. The program will virtually change your Windows Phone into an entirely new mobile experience. Read on for the full review!
The upgraded version now sports many new features that include customizable widgets, professional and lifestyle home screens, Facebook integration, 3D screen switcher, kinetic scrolling and Windows Mobile 6.5 support.
This is the new Professional Layout, similar to the Spb Mobile Shell 2.0
The program installs like nearly every other Windows Phone application, just download the CAB file to your computer and transfer to your device. There is also an EXE file that may be downloaded and installed directly from your computer through Active Sync.
The program menu has implemented the kinetic scrolling, so when you slide your finger up and down past the menu the page will bounce back. This is the same useful feature of Windows Mobile 6.5. It would have been nice if Spb adopted the hexagon style of early builds of Windows Mobile 6.5 that Microsoft disregarded.
Setup is easy, just click an icon and the program will help you customize it.
When Spb Mobile Shell 3.0 is first launched on your device you will be brought to the Professional layout which is similar to Mobile Shell 2.0 but has a more sleek calendar, plus weather information and many new notification icons. With just a flick up or down the page changes to the lifestyle home screen which can be customized with a multitude of widgets or applications. A click to the lower left will activate the program carrousel, a 3D style interface which smoothly transitions from one useful Spb screen to another. There is also a setting which will change the carrousel into a panel-type interface that displays all of the useful Spb pages onto one screen. The favorite's contact page is similar to Mobile Shell 2.0, but now integrates Facebook, so photos can be downloaded and updated regularly. With the new version however there is also a favorite's contact carrousel that emulates the same 3D kinetic scrolling transitions of the program selector.
The new sleek calendar shows one to four weeks worth of appointments. Unlike the default calendar on Windows Mobile this one will show you the next month threaded directly into the upcoming weeks.
The settings on the calendar are easy to set up.
The weather screen will give you a four day forecast and break down each day into quarters.
Here is the 3D carrousel interface; just flick your finger side to side to change the program.
The alternative panel view that can be changed back to the carrousel from the settings button in the lower right corner.
The contacts page can now hold many more contacts than Spb Mobile Shell 2.0 and a click on the contact will give you more choices in contacting them.
The Facebook integration is very useful in updating or downloading higher quality photos for your contacts. The program will automatically launch the Facebook application and begin loading photos from your friend's and contact's profile.
Now your contacts get a stylish carrousel as well.
Setting a ringtone for each contact is much simpler than trying to do it through the default Windows Mobile contact list.
With just a flick of your finger either up or down will change the Professional layout to the Lifestyle layout.
The background of the Lifestyle layout may be customized to any photo or picture on your device.
One of the widgets of the lifestyle menu that can be selected is the backlight widget, a quick and touch-friendly way of changing your backlight brightness.
In the Lifestyle layout any widget can be moved to any area of the page, certain widgets allow for resizing. If you have someone that you contact regularly just put them on your Lifestyle for fast retrieval.
Spb Mobile Shell 3.0 has many widgets in the program already, there are talks about even more that may be downloaded in the future. Click over to the next page, where we talk about options.
If there are any issues with the program they can be quickly solved through the Spb support forum which highlights many frequently asked questions. If you still are unable to solve your problem just email Spb directly and they will get back to you promptly.
The new settings menu is easier to select Spb's settings as well as standard Windows Mobile settings.
The Spb Mobile Shell 3.0 launcher looks familiar to the 2.0 version, perhaps the only screen that is still similar to the previous interface.
The interface is completely customizable from the color theme of your device to the Lifestyle layout. The contacts page can be changed to reflect your personal style.
The theme color selector will change the theme on your device, not just the Spb Mobile Shell 3.0 interface.
The contacts page now allows you to change the size of your contact's photo or rearrange the way the layout appears. If you want your contacts to be in a checkered arrangement just move them into the appropriate places.
Setting up a ringtone is very straightforward, much easier than going through Windows Mobile's settings.
Spb Mobile Shell 3.0 will run on all Windows Mobile 5/6/6.1/6.5 devices with at least 6MB of free program and storage space. Virtually all display resolutions are supported from QVGA, WQVGA, Square, VGA, and WVGA. This program will only work on devices with a touch screen. It is recommended that you have either a data plan or Wi-Fi on our device to take full advantage of the weather application and Facebook integration.
The wireless widget that can be select from the Lifestyle layout allows you to change your connections quickly.
The audio profile is completely customizable as well as being much more touch friendly than the small speaker at the top right of the Windows Mobile today page.
BUGS AND WISHES
We noticed that during the prerelease testing of this program that battery life was drastically compromised, but after installing the final release from the Spb website battery life has remained stable, as if the program had not been installed at all. For devices with a physical keyboard, or for those that prefer landscape, the transition is rather lagging, sometimes taking up to four seconds to switch from one aspect to the next. It would be nice if the switch was as fluid as the interface itself. If customization to the contacts array or to the widgets has been performed, certain widgets and icons get put into odd configurations. Also one thing that I would like to see Spb address is typing speed while having Spb Mobile Shell 3.0 installed; the typing delay can take two or more seconds to catch up.
When you push the Windows Start button it will automatically launch the favorites and recently used program page.
To turn off the start menu override select "No." To turn it on select "Yes."
Spb Mobile Shell 3.0 features a 15 day trial and can be downloaded from pocketnow.com Software Store. The full version of the program costs $29.95 USD and comes with a 30 day, no questions asked, full refund. Purchasers, within the last 90 days, of Spb Mobile Shell 2.0 can upgrade to Spb Mobile Shell 3.0 for free. There is also an upgrade price for previous owners of Spb Mobile Shell 2.0 for $14.97 USD through the Spb website.
Registered version of Spb Mobile Shell 3.0.
In case you missed it on YouTube, here is Mobile Shell 3.0 in action.
- 3D carousel interface
- Customizable with widgets
- Upgraded contacts page
- Easy to use once you learn the gestures
- Many color themes
- Smooth kinetic transitions
- Periodic typing lag
- Slow screen rotation
- Widgets become displaced with screen rotation
Spb nailed Mobile Shell 3.0. It's far more customizable, visually pleasing, and functional than the previous version of Mobile Shell. We're hearing from the company that more widgets are in development, which mean we may see things like Twitter, Photos, Stocks, and other widgets be added to the menu of choices for the lifestyle tab.