Review: SPB Mobile Shell


When I just started using SPB Mobile Shell I was certain I will eventually remove it (just as I did with all other shell applications who threatened to replace my good old Today Screen).
After all, I worked years on finding the perfect combination of today plug-ins, they are working fast, they are simple to use and I'm used to them.
What can SPB give me (besides some nice animations) that I don't already have?

Well, I was wrong!
Few months later, Mobile Shell is the first thing I install on any new device I get.

Now, I'm not going to write the entire features list (it's rather long, and you can easily find it in SPB's website (including some videos)). Instead, here are some reasons why I totally like SPB Mobile Shell:



Mobile Shell is well designed. Comparing to other she'll applications it has higher standard, simple and clean design with lots of configuration capabilities (colors, content, animation, etc.).



I love applications which make you forget about performance. With zero loading time and absolutely great performance, using Mobile Shell feels like its part of Windows Mobile.


Maximum Usability:

1. Minimum screen gestures and absolutely no scrolling:

Ok, I know what you are all thinking: finger-swiping is fun, sliding the finger to scroll lists is just like the iPhone and iPhone is good, right?
Well, I've got some bad news for you all: Finger-swiping is sluggish, it's inaccurate, and since your WinMo screen does not have the same technology as the one in the iPhone - the experience is not the same, not to mention that the swiping will fill your screen with annoying fingerprints. 
So, when you are using Mobile Shell - instead of scroll bar - you get a 'Next' button. It is always located at the same place and does the same thing: navigates through pages - quick, accurate and... so obvious! I cannot believe no one thought of it before!

2. Location of the navigation buttons:

Another thing I hate about the iPhone is the location of the 'back' button (top left corner). Buttons which are located on the top of the screen are not comfortable to use when you hold your phone with one hand (try it out and you will see what I mean... I guess this is why the keyboard is always in the bottom right?). Mobile shell has a navigation panel which is always in the bottom: different tabs, next page, previous page, etc.

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3. Tasks and configurable menus:

The ability to define custom menus is really good, especially when you have lot's of applications you need to use often.
The menus are all finger friendly (with the page navigation mentioned above) which completely removes any need for another launcher application.
The Task Manager is built in the same way, much better than the HTC Task Manager for instance, which is not so finger friendly.



Well, here, as well, I can't complain. I'm usually prefer stable devices and never install application which forces me to restart my device more than once a week, and SPB is certainly a stable app.


Areas of improvements:

As always, a criticizing person like myself must find something to complain about (this is what I like doing, complaining...).

One thing that I miss in the main screen (the today replacement) is a more detailed calendar and tasks view. (I always miss that in shell applications - tasks, this is why I'm crying a handheld device right?). By the way, this is one of the reasons why I created the SpoonDo!



Rarely I find Windows Mobile applications that I'm willing to pay for (after all, I'm developing tools myself and no one ever pays me! and besides, I can find most of the good stuff for free down at the XDA-Developers...).

SPB Mobile Shell is certainly an exception: it's fun, it looks great, and most important it boosts my phone productivity in critical areas Windows Mobile fails to deliver.

Try it out, and let me know what you think (comments are more than welcome!)

For more screenshot