This review comes in a bit late, but better late than never.

SPB Software is quite a renowned company making apps for various mobile phone OS platforms. Symbian is one of them. We were lucky to snag a copy of SPB Mobile Shell v3.5 for review.

So what is the SPB Mobile Shell? In simple words, without a lot of techno babble, it is a customization and personalization tool for Symbian touchscreen phones.

Before I go into great detail let me post a few lead features of this application.

Lead features: –

– Multiple customizable homescreens
– Widgets for tasks, agenda, weather and a lot of others
– Widget-based photo contacts
– Launcher with fast access to all the features
– Adaptive skins, support for OpenGL and 3D carousel

So what does it do…. well what it does is makes your drab boring homescreen interesting and alive. If you have had a touchscreen Symbian for quite sometime, you know what I am talking about. The screen is good, but it just can’t contain all the things you need on one screen or a pane even. I, for example would like to have my homescreen full of icons of apps I use all the time, but I can’t. In such a case I am left hitting the menu button quite often and then browsing for that app and firing it up… phew that’s a lot to describe imagine doing it every now and then!

Let’s face it, power-users like me, have outgrown the homescreen ages ago. So much that even themes and wallpapers don’t excite me. I’m sure all you power-users agree!

So this is where SPB Software’s Mobile Shell v3.5 comes in. This app replaces the default homescreen with something that suddenly makes everything and I mean everything on your homescreen. Not only does it look good, it manages to completely make you ditch that menu button. I know I have hit it once, probably twice in the entire day as against 20-30 times.

SPB gives you the option of adding about ten homescreens – yes ten homescreens!. You can customize each one as you wish. Lifestyle and Business homescreens being activated for use allows you to do it. However if you think 10 is too much and you really don’t need ten homescreens, you can turn it down to a more manageable number and maybe even switch off the Lifestyle or Business look. You will find that you can add wallpapers, change the size of the widgets and more. Quite frankly it has so many features that figuring it out is one of my favourite hobbies at the moment. SPB Mobile Shell really allows you to tinker a lot with itself and get the perfect look for your device. The carousel feature is another exciting thing and really makes the phone stand out. The 3D cube view from LG seems to be the inspiration and quite frankly it looks damn good here!

The weather widget is clearly a good addition here. SPB has put in a lot of thought and outed this app. There are a couple of bugs, but then these are minor niggles, nothing V3.6 cannot solve. For example, the layout of icons messes up in landscape mode, solution – simply organize it in the landscape mode, so when you switch from landscape to portrait and vice versa it won’t mess up at all. Also you might find that typing for a name from the contacts is in T9. it would be great if the option of switching on/off the T9 was present.

SPB’s Mobile Shell V3.5 has made my white N97mini’s homescreen useful and awesome. Not only does the phone look different, it works a little, actually, a lot better. At 7MB you’d think this would slow down your phone, but I found none of that on my device.

So where can you get it? you ask, well you can simply go here and download a copy for yourself. At $29.95, this is a bit on the expensive side. But honestly, after you have tinkered around with it it feels like money well spent. The app is designed to make that phone look younger and attractive once again. Think of it like a plastic surgery for the face…. and those surgeries don’t come in cheap.

I strongly recommend it if you want to be able to seriously get more out of that touchscreen phone without hitting too many buttons.

I’ve put in some screenshots to give you a good view of how it changes the default homescreen. Enjoy!