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UTILITY: Spb Software House's Spb Diary for Pocket PC released
Posted by Arne Hess - on Tuesday, 26.04.05 - 21:26:15 CET under 02 - Windows Mobile News - Viewed 9487x
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In September, 2004 the first Spb Pocket PC survey demonstrated that 85% Pocket PC users use their Pocket PC as an organizer (see more results here - SURVEY: How does the PPCW.Net visitor compares with other PPC users?). This is the single most popular use for Pocket PC users. However, standard Pocket PC tools for handling PIM data have turned out to be underwhelming at best. Especially this concerns the most important part - PIM plug-ins for the Today screen. A standard Pocket PC offers only a poor Today plug-in for appointments and tasks with minimum functionality and no Today plug-in for contacts at all.

Today Spb Software House has released Spb Diary - a powerful replacement for the standard PIM Today plug-ins. Another company's famous application Spb Pocket Plus greatly enhances the Pocket PC operating system. Spb Diary follows this line by improving standard PIM Today plug-ins. It has three Today plug-ins for calendar, tasks and contacts organized in tabs. The tab structure of the plug-in saves useful screen space. The usability testing proved that for PIM Today plug-ins height is a more important parameter than width because the number of displayed items is critical. That's why tabs in Spb Diary Today plug-in have vertical layout. The program provides deep integration with Pocket Outlook, Agenda Fusion and Pocket Informant. Even category icons can be inherited by Spb Diary from the associated PIM. On the other hand, the program allows users to get any kind of PIM data in just a few taps without leaving the Today screen and switching to PIM applications.

It's a well-known fact that the most frequent and natural use for your Pocket PC is as a powerful organizer. In whatever other way you use your Pocket PC (playing games, listening to music, browsing the Internet, and/or reading e-books, etc), it will be used most often as a reliable tool for storing contacts and for managing appointments and tasks. The results of the first Spb Pocket PC Survey conducted in September, 2004, confirmed this tendency. According to the results, 85% of the more than 10,000 participants claimed that they constantly use their Pocket PC as an organizer, which makes it the single most popular use for Pocket PC users.

In this respect, just how good does the Pocket PC rate as an organizer? How handy are the three main PIM applications: appointments, tasks and contacts? Standard Pocket PC tools for handling PIM data have turned out to be underwhelming at best, and especially in what may be the most important part - PIM plug-ins for the Today screen. Most people would like to see all of their everyday information right on the Today screen and the ability to get to any entry in one or two taps. The standard Today plug-in for appointments usually shows only one upcoming appointment for today, and the rest can be accessed only by opening the Calendar. The standard Today plug-in for tasks shows only the number of active tasks and tasks of high priority. This provides a user with no meaningful information. Finally, there's no standard Today plug-in for contacts. Looking for a particular contact, which should be a two-tap process at best, is painfully over-complicated.

Spb Diary from Spb Software House is an elegant solution for all of these problems. The Spb Diary solution is to provide you with a three-in-one Today plug-in with tabs for Calendar, Tasks and Contacts. Spb Diary hones to perfection PIM-use on the Pocket PC.

With Spb Diary you no longer have to open a PIM application just to find out whether you have any appointments planned for tomorrow or to find somebody's e-mail address. All your information is conveniently on the Today screen. And you can adjust the height of the plug-in so that you can see as many entries at a time as you want.

Features

  • PIM Today plug-in with tabs for Calendar, Tasks and Contacts
    The tabbed structure of the plug-in allows users to save as much useful screen space as possible. One tap opens a tab with all the most important entries (e.g. all appointments for today and for tomorrow) displayed.
  • Integration with Pocket Outlook, Agenda Fusion and Pocket Informant
    Spb Diary is a perfect Today plug-in addition for these PIM applications. It doesn't matter which PIM application you use, Spb Diary works with each one. Even category icons can be inherited by Spb Diary from the associated PIM.
  • Most frequent actions can be performed without leaving the Today screen
    As most users of Spb Diary point out, the number of times when it's necessary to open a PIM application is significantly reduced. All the most frequent actions can be performed without ever leaving the Today screen. Spb Diary opens the correct PIM application automatically only for entering new or modifying existing data. Other actions such as viewing item subject, location and notes, rescheduling, dialing a number, changing item priority and status, changing reminder, beaming entries - all of these actions can be performed directly from your Today screen in Spb Diary in just a few taps.

Spb Diary is available from PocketGear for US$ 14,95 and also includes a 15 days trial-version.

I've tested Spb Diary over the past weeks and it completely replaced my (free) Mohairsofa Calendar+ plug-in I've used so far.

Cheers ~ Arne


 
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Comments
Posted by krypticide on 27.04.05 - 03:35:14

How is this any better than PocketBreeze? It looks rather like a knock-off, but PocketBreeze has been around for much longer, which gives it an experience advantage.

Posted by jomni on 27.04.05 - 05:15:11

And it's kinda large for a today plugin at 1.1 MB!!!  A full-blown PIM add on like Agenda Fusion is already that size.  I really don't like to put redundant applications in my Pocket PC... what's wrong with launching Calenadar, Contacts, and Tasks?  In fact, I have Agenda Fusion but I am not using it because of it's size.

Posted by Jeff996 on 27.04.05 - 19:24:39

It will be interesting to see a review comparing SPB Diary with Pocket Breeze. Both use tabs to save screen real estate. Pocket Breeze is so customizable, it will be hard to beat. But SPB writes some great software.

Posted by Dr. Kushal on 03.05.05 - 15:17:30

Jeff996 wrote:

It will be interesting to see a review comparing SPB Diary with Pocket Breeze. Both use tabs to save screen real estate. Pocket Breeze is so customizable, it will be hard to beat. But SPB writes some great software.

I am also the registered user of Pocket breeze for long time, but I tell you guys the moment I got hold of SPB Diary, I immidiately switched over to it.
Primarily:
1) The screen refresh rate of SPB Diary is much better
2) As is the case breeze may be highly customizable, but do I really need that much, or better I open my PIM and do the work.
3) SPB focussed on very specific customization, the normal senses would tell.
4) Its horizontal placement is a glaring example of how well SPB had read the psyche of PPC users.
5) The resheduling/creating new appontment by draggin the time bar, its just right.
6) The pop up calendar shows my time line view also, not simply calendar.
7)With Pocket breeze I really though why the hell I need any today plug-in, and with SPB Diary I have started thinking; Do I really need such a big PIM (Pocket Informant) or just some lighter version and let SPB do rest of the job.
Regards,
Dr. Kushal

Posted by micaels on 04.05.05 - 06:24:06

jomni wrote:

And it's kinda large for a today plugin at 1.1 MB!!!  A full-blown PIM add on like Agenda Fusion is already that size.  I really don't like to put redundant applications in my Pocket PC... what's wrong with launching Calenadar, Contacts, and Tasks?  In fact, I have Agenda Fusion but I am not using it because of it's size.

Jikes I were considering trying this but at 1.1 megabyte I will stay with my pocket breeze.

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