By April 21, 2009

Review SPB Mobile Shell 3.0


SPB have finally updated their popular Mobile Shell to version 3.0. It’s been quite some time since they announced this newer version and it’s excited almost everyone who has ever had the pleasure of using this Today screen replacement. I had fears from the recent video that this version was going to overstretch Windows Mobile resources and was too complicated to be stable. It’s been released today and lets take a look at it.

For the last couple of years companies have been cranking out Today screen replacements for Windows Mobile like nobody’s business. SPB took the idea a step further. Originally releasing the first Mobile Shell back in 2007 SPB have spent the last few years cramming as much into it as possible whilst ensuring it stayed stable and not a memory burden. It was successful at both of these and managed to improve on them tenfold.

Early videos of version 3.0 looked excellent however I had fears that Mobile Shell would only run efficiently on a higher end device like the Touch Pro or the Touch HD.

The following list outlines key new features for version 3.0:

  • Widgets (Lifestyle Home Screen)
  • Facebook integration
  • 3D carousel
  • Widget-based photo contacts
  • Finger friendly agenda view
  • Call log
  • Finger friendly profile editor
  • Ringtone management
  • Management of contact photos (crop, rotate etc.)
  • Work as a home screen
  • Media Player widget
  • Wireless Manager
  • New launcher
  • 3×3 phone menu is back
  • Finger friendly settings
  • Kinetic scrolling everywhere
  • Email indicators for individual email accounts
  • Improved task manager
  • Back/Restore settings


From the outset the face of the shell looks familiar. There is a Professional Today screen replacement that holds most of the crucial “at a glance” information for most people. This screen is not customisable however they have added a Personal Today screen for you to fiddle with.


This today screen is the more flexible of the two. Much like the Android home screen you can populate it with various widgets and utilities. Whilst it can become crammed the more you add to it, you can relax the customisation as the Professional Today screen is merely one click away and will contain your calendar and other alerts.


A new, easily assessable function is the carousel, using a D-pad or swiping your finger will spin the carousel one face at a time. There are 12 faces in total and if you don’t like it you can switch to an Xperia-style tile interface. These 12 faces/tiles are your Professional Today screen, Personal Today screen, a program Launcher, the SPB Menu, Call Log, Favourite Contacts, SPB Contacts, a Contacts Carousel, Weather feature, Agenda screen, Time settings and a profile editor. All pretty handy, most are customisable but not interchangeable.

Screen06  Screen09

The Program Launcher is quick links to your favourite programs and your recently used programs. If you have lots of programs and require more space to display them then you can switch to the Advanced mode above on the right.

Screen10  Screen11  Screen12

The SPB menu is an entry way to everything else on your device that isn’t on your Program Launcher. Each category takes you to a list of finger friendly sub-categories or tiles. Traditional methods of to most of these features can take several key presses and can sometimes require the stylus, here you can get to most with at most, four clicks.

The Call Log , Favourite Contacts and SPB Contacts are easily connected to each other. The Call Log is a standard list of all recent activity and the SPB Contacts is an easily searchable list of contacts.

clip_image002  Screen13  Screen14

Favourite Contacts can be fiddled around with highlighting more important contacts in a more convenient way for calling. This is where there is a little innovation in the software. On each contact aside from being able to edit their personal details you can personalise how they appear, change ringtones and even fetch Facebook contact pictures.


The Contacts Carousel seems a little redundant given the Favourite Contacts function yet it’s a fun way of presenting your favourite contacts and I’m sure it will be used by some.


The Weather function is a nice addition, nothing too special but for what it is, it does the job nicely. There is a good city list, some other applications only contain certain cities.

Screen08  Screen07

Both the Time and Profile screens allow for basic manipulation of the respective features. I was excited to see this had an alarm feature however it just links to the standard Windows alarm settings.

One bug I have discovered, and it is far from anything serious is that there is sometimes a duplication of the battery icon at the top of the screen. It’s comes and goes depending on the screen but it’s hardly going to put anyone off buying the full product. You can see this in effect on the Time screen shot.

The biggest test for me was how well this ran on non-high end phones. And I’m glad to report that I have had this running on three low to mid range devices with no noticeable lag, in fact it feels fluid. I first ran it on my Tytn II, a lag hound that falters at the first sign of processing, and I was elated that the software was super smooth. I ran it on an O2 Zest and an older HTC Hermes and it was exactly the same.

So far I have trouble faulting this software. It’s has made my beaten up Tytn II feel young again. The interface is fast, attractive and impressive. The feature set is carefully worked out to maximise usefulness and most importantly customisation. It’s stable, well oiled and just a pleasure to use.

SPB have done a delicious job of putting together a powerful and exciting piece of software. They had to, in a market that contains Touchflo 3D and the X1’s interface provided by the manufacturer as default and software such as Winterface and PocketBreeze this is the friendliest and most accomplished I’ve used.

Available from SPB Software

Product version


Installer size (cab)

6,94 MB

Supported languages

English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Czech, Thai, Arabic, Dutch, Danish, Czech, Polish, Dutch, Greek, Slovak, Hebrew, Swedish, Norwegian, Finish, Korean, Turkish

Registration type


Release date

April 21st, 2009

Supported OS

Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC and later

Size in ROM (qVGA)

4,87 MB

Size in ROM (VGA)

7,70 MB

Posted in: Phones

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
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