SPB Mobile Shell 3.0 – A Quick Review

Posted On: Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SPB has finally released Mobile Shell 3.0 and simply put, it is Amazing!

Once installation completes and the shell is launched, you are taken to a sleeker version of SPB Mobile Shell 2.0 home with message information, notifications, calendar, and weather. This screen is known as the Professional Home screen. But wait! with the flick of a finger up the screen, the home screen is switched to the lifestyle home screen which provides a completely different look and feel. This lifestyle home screen is fully customizable allowing the user to place widgets and application launchers of their choice on the screen as needed. Apart from application shortcuts and widgets, the user can also add calendar entries, images, contacts, and more. Furthermore, the lifestyle home screen is split across three pages – flick to the right or left to change to the page – thus allowing you to manage similar widgets on the same page.

Clicking on the lower-left button activates the SPB Carrousel – a 3D interface which lets you scroll from one SPB screen to another. A quick, easy, and visually appealing way to get to some of the screens. A similar Carrousel is available for browsing favorite contacts, which again is an appealing way to get to your favorite contacts, but definitely not the quickest. The favorite contact screen (non-carrousel) is more convenient and easy to access. Additionally, you can modify the layout to your needs.

The Programs launcher is divided into two sections, the recently launched programs and all programs. Instead of having the user flick through pages when browsing programs and settings, SPB has shifted to kinetic scrolling. Personally i love this change. Paging may have been useful but it definitely slowed down quick launching of applications if you had to change a few pages before getting to the application required.

The program runs on virtually all Windows Mobile 5/6/6.1/6.5 devices with QVGA, WQVGA, Square, VGA, and WVGA. Available at a price of $29.95, it is available as a free update to those who recently purchased SPB Mobile Shell 2.0. SPB Shell 3.0 performs flawlessly on the Xperia.

Honestly speaking, though SPB Shell 2.0 was one of the best UI replacements for Windows Mobile, i was never much of a fan. It felt restricted and plain – regardless of the smooth animations. Even on my Xperia, though i had the panel version installed, i used it only occasionally; mostly when i had a new skin to try out. But with Shell 3.0, SPB has won me over completely. It is customizable to a great level, provides a lot of cool features, has facebook integration to update contact pictures (no more cropping and copying of pictures to the mobile!), is extremely touch-optimized, extremely smooth and appealing animations, love the carrousel, and the lifestyle home screen is simply awesome. If i were to rate this software, it would definitely rate a 5/5.

I personally however will not be using SPB Shell 3.0 as the main Today Interface much, i simply love the new 6.5 today screen! I will however wait impatiently for the Panel version to become available and purchase it right away. This time i can guarantee that i will be using the SPB Shell Panel quite frequently.

Head on here to download a trial copy or to purchase it now…

Wallpapers: Once you install SPB Mobile Shell 3.0, the first thing you’ll notice (like me) is that most of your wallpapers don’t work well with the lifestyle menu. I won’t go into detail, but you specifically need 960x768 images. To download a couple of wallpapers specifically for SPB Shell 3.0, head on here.

A couple of images for you to give a quick look at SPB Shell 3.0:

Screen01 Screen02 Screen03 Screen04 Screen06 Screen09 Screen10 Screen07 Screen08 Screen11 Screen12 Screen13 Screen14 Screen15 Screen17 Screen18 Screen19 Screen20


18 Responses to “SPB Mobile Shell 3.0 – A Quick Review”

  1. Christon Burns

    I have the Xperia X1 and I noticed while it's running that if you try to go to the pannels, the whole phone freezes and many other WM applications are exponentially slower.

    In my opinion SPB Mobile Shell 3.0 is a really nice program and maybe even should be the basis of a phone one day, but using it along with Windows Mobile it's very glitch and very slow. It's a process that is always running, and with 512mb of ram I really would like to get the full functionality of my phone and not this one program. I think I'm going to go back to Mobile Shell 2.0 until hey have improved 3.0. Or at least until they have turned it into a standalone panel that does not conflict with other programs if it's not running.

  2. M.Salman.K

    @Christon - Are you positive that the performance lag you mention is caused by SPB Shell? First and foremost make sure that you are running the final version of SPB Shell 3.0 and not a leaked version. Secondly... What ROM are you using? I flashed to a custom 6.5 ROM a few days back and that had a similar issue... i did a hard-reset and it went away!

  3. Christon Burns

    @M.Salman.K - You are probably right, I didn't even think about the different ROM. I'll try that and let you know.

    BTW, love the blog, good points, I can't wait for the panel version either!

  4. Melk

    Also posted this in XDA, so copy/paste:

    Overall it's a good product but it really has some major flaws:

    - There's no way NOT to include SIM numbers among the contacts. This is very very stupid, I can't believe that no programmer or beta tester was annoyed by this. I keep my contacts in the SIM as backup when I need to use my SIM in another phone, I hate having those duplicates in SPB's list.

    - Poor choice of widgets, so little to choose from... SPB is not even trying. They didn't at least integrate their own products. I want to have widgets for Insight feeds, Wireless Monitor, G-alarm, tasks, etc.

    - I can't add a Today item as an widget. Yrgo 3.0 can do this. If they added support for this, the above problem would be solved partially.

    - I cannot change what the Contacts button does. I use Resco Contacts and it's far superior to SPB's contact list. I have to create a shortcut on the Lifestyle layout or in the Launcher to use it.

    - When I press the volume/profile button, there should be a slider to control the volume in the normal setting. I know there's a button, but that's one more tap.

    - Tasks are not displayed, only appointments.

    Other not-so-important bad stuff:

    - For some reason it doesn't display contact pictures in the call list.

    - Didn't find a way to customize the SPB menu in the Launcher, so that feature is useless.

    - Carousel contacts and screens is nice to look at, but useless.

    - It takes too long to switch between portrait/landscape.

  5. Heckedotz

    Hi there,
    thanks for the nice blog.

    - Will this SpB 3.0 Shell be available as a Panel version soon?

    - And will it be free for X1-user again (as V2.0)


  6. rudd_is_muppett

    Great blog mate, I check it everyday. One menue that frustrates me is the Multimedia one and particularly the camera menu. None of these shortcuts launch any program. The same happened in V2. Am I missing something here? Do they work on your Xperia?


  7. Rishi

    Salman - nice blog...

    Quick question - under the leaked beta Mobile Shell 3 I had the option of hardware acceleration.....in the released version (I am running the trial currently) I no longer have this option.....nobody else has mentioned this - what's your experience? Do you still have the option in settings?


  8. M.Salman.K

    @Rishi - I'm afraid i don't see it anymore either. Not sure why they removed it... but then i didn't notice much difference with that option turned on or off in the leaked version either.

  9. M.Salman.K

    @Heckedotz - No release date for the Panel version is yet announced. And in my opinion, i don't think it'll be free this time... hopefully they might release two panels - a free and light version and a paid version with all the functionalty.

    Let's wait and see.

  10. M.Salman.K

    @rudd_is_muppett - Afraid that on my set the shortcuts are working perfectly! Ok not as perfect 'coz Video also starts the camera in picture mode and all but still at-least it launches the camera.

  11. M.Salman.K

    @Melk - Some of the points you listed are valid... In regards to widgets however - give 'em time. It'll take some work to get new and useful widgets.

  12. Rishi

    The hardware acceleration made the carousel marginally smoother, and also let you 'see through' the gaps in the carousel to the panels spinning behind - looked good.

    A minor thing I would agree, but a shame to lose some nice eye candy....

  13. Andreas

    I think it roxx. Really makes the phone so much better. Its a true touch phone now. Dont need that stupid stylus..

    i have two issues though.

    Music player. Its just the windows meadia player which suxx. Is there not a better music player out there ??

    Secondly the camera does not worth through SPB u have to hit the camera button on the side of the phone to start it.

    Luve your blog. Found it today and its great

  14. M.Salman.K

    @Andreas; Definitely has its shortcomings, but hey, nothing is perfect! It is one of the best shell alternatives out there and hopefully with time we'll see more improvements and widgets come in.

    In regards to Music Player - Let me know when you find something good. The one thing that i hate on Windows Mobile is an easy to use and quick/fast music/video player. There are some good choices out there like perhaps S2P, but... having been a user of an iPhone, i have to say that iPod in iPhone worked exceptionally well in comparison to music players on WinMo. (Performance wise many music players like the Media Panel, Windows Media, Coreplayer, and others works perfectly, but they either lack in looks or functionality). Here's a thought, i might do a post on Media players this weekend... ;)

    And in regards to Camera functionality... don't know whats up with that... The camera launcher in SPB on my device launches the camera without problems. I am however using a custom ROM with Win6.5 - could be that the guy who cooked this one did something different perhaps?

    Anyhow... thanks for the appreciation mate. :)

  15. M.Salman.K

    @Rishi - Now everytime i activate the carousel, i can't help but think how it would look cooler had there been hardware acceleration on it! :D

  16. Andreas

    Yeah its true. I just wish we could get totally rid of the windows core background LOL. LIke when you actually call somebody it takes u to the windows calling screen, wish it just staid with the shell which looks soo clean. And guys the facebook integration is amazing!. So easy to go get peoples faces to put in your contact list, that really roxx.

    Regarding the camera. I have the generic room, that has been upgraded.

    But yeah best shell ever, and the thing runs like an iphone now. Touch screen is soo smooth, I am really happy with this right now.

  17. Johnny Boy

    I'm leaning more towards SPB 3 at the moment, but just a heads up to say that PointUI 2 pro is now available for $19.95.

    I havent had a good look to see what its got over the free edition, yet, but i have to say i'm interested.

    See ya later. peeps.

  18. Angus Rouse

    I downloaded the trial version of Mobile Shell 3.0 and loved the interface. However, as someone had previously reported, I was facing problems with slowness. Even typing text messages became slow and changing from portrait to landscape took-up a good 5-6 seconds. I'm using the UK generic R2 ROM. Once I uninstalled Mobile Shell 3.0, my phone was back to it's normal speed.

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