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Windows Mobile eye candy

The Facebook photos, smooth navigation, and widget customizations found in Spb's mobile interface alternative go a long way toward making Windows Mobile engaging.

Windows Mobile's interface is getting better all the time, but it could use some help. Swooping to the rescue are interface replacers like Spb Mobile Shell. With integration for Facebook photos, intuitive navigation, and widget customizations, Spb's mobile interface alternative go a long way toward making Windows Mobile engaging.

The professional view sports a clock and weather widget, your various voice mail and message in-boxes, alarms, and the calendar on a glossy background whose maroon default you can change. Below is a contact icon that opens your contact list. Newly added Facebook integration lets you pick among your friends' profile pictures, select from your phone's media files, or snap a new image. The app also has a launcher that pops up a skinned view of your recently used apps, plus shortcut icons to take you to your full program list, the settings, and the task manager.

Another icon on the main screen displays a stylized 3D carousel of screens to swipe through. Or, switch over to the Lifestyle layout built for casual use. Here you're able to change the background and add widgets, like a battery meter, a mini media player, the weather, and clocks. You can drag and drop them around the screen to place them where you'd like. This view also supports an expanded screen, where swiping to the left or right reveals two more panels as large as your main screen. While spacious in theory, widget packrats will find ways to clutter it, and some may never use it at all.

Spb Mobile Shell navigates smoothly and intuitively, and the app goes a long way toward making Windows Mobile interfaces engaging and attractive. The color settings should be easier to get to, but the biggest drawback for some may be the price. The $30 is more than most cosmetic apps, but the trial download gives you time to decide if the sleekness is worth the dollars. It's tempting at the very least.

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