you hear the name Spb Pocket Plus, the first thing that comes to mind is usually
the task switcher/killer add-on for the Pocket PC. But even with the previous
versions, Pocket Plus was never just a task switcher/killer. It was a collection
of handy utilities that extended the Pocket PC's capabilities. It added a Today
plugin, repeating alarms, extended the Pocket Internet Explorer's capabilities
and provided a fix for the notification problems of Windows Mobile 2003 devices.
Spb Pocket Plus 2.0, promises to do that plus a lot more. We take a look at
Pocket Plus 2.0 and see what's new with and if it stands up to what it claims to
The installation is quite smooth. And it even prompts you if you want to
associate Zip files with Spb Pocket Plus for one-click uncompressing of zipped
files. I just found the installation size a bit shocking at 2,083.2 K. It may
not be a problem with Pocket PCs with 128MB of RAM to spare but for those that
run on the lesser 64MB (with about 57MB available to the user), this may make a
big dent on the memory figures if you are a power user.
At 2,083.2 K, that is huge... but there is an explanation to it that helps
justifying the large install size.
Pocket Plus 2.0 offers six different components built into it plus seven
extended themes that adds a little eye candy that complements a very nicely done
Starting off with the Close Button, we look at the addition of numerous options
which can be included in the drop down context menu. This goes beyond what
Pocket Plus had to offer with the previous version. With fifteen options
available to the user, which can be further configured by moving any of each
item up or down the list, this by far is the most configurable Close Button
The Close Button can be be made to react differently depending on the way it is
activated. The Close Button can be activated on tap, tap-and-hold, and on
The Close Button alone makes Pocket Plus 2.0 worth every penny. It even
goes further allowing you to name applications which you could put in the
minimize only list.
I've set mine to minimize on a tap, close the current application on a gesture
(tap-and-drag-down), and call the Close Button pull-down menu on a tap-and-hold.
Think of getting the most out of one icon... or area alone.
Going into the Pocket Internet Explorer setup page reveals more about what
Pocket Plus 2.0 can do.
The nice thing about the way Pocket Plus handles Pocket Internet Explorer is
that it isn't obtrusive. It has a single icon to call up a menu which extends
the capabilities of Pocket Internet Explorer such as being able to open a new
PIE window or close the current PIE window as well as giving the option to view
the page in full-screen. Being able to save the page or view the source in
Pocket Word is always a plus. And once in full-screen mode, there is a little
icon that appears in the bottom left corner to revert back to standard view.
The context menus that pop out on a tap and hold in Pocket Internet Explorer
also reflect the available options for each link or the lack of thereof. Doing a
tap-and-hold on a basic HTML area simply gives you the [Back] option aside from
the basic Select All Text, Refresh Page, and Add to Favorites. Tapping on an
image adds the [Save Picture As...] option, and tapping on a link gives you the
additional [Open in New Window] and [Copy Shortcut] options.
We're not even half-way through and everything just looks outstanding.
The Today Screen plugin of Pocket Plus 2,0 is another item which Spb has
tremendously improved. Not only did they add more functionality to it with its
tabbed setup, they even made sure that you can skin them well too with the seven
extended themes that comes packaged with Pocket Plus 2.0.
Pocket Plus 2.0 allows the user to name the tabs (maximum of five tabs), and set
whatever items the user wants to show on the Today Screen plugin. There are
basically six categories to choose from, and these are the Indicators such as
battery, memory and backlight indicator, Programs which is about any program in
the programs folder, the System which includes soft reset, suspend, screen
toggle, volume, and backlight control, My Documents which is any file found in
the My Documents folder, Settings which is basically the settings menu of the
Pocket PC and the Custom settings which depends greatly on the user as to what
is included in this category.
The extended themes also use their own icon set for the plugin, and while a
basic set of icons are supplied for non-extended themes, the added features of
the icon set for the extended themes add uniqueness to any Pocket PC sporting
it. Having a lot of icons on the Today screen is sure to take up much of the
screen real estate. This is where the tabs and the ability to use smaller icons
come to play.
A nice touch too is the addition of a battery indicator at the very top of the
screen. It is not obtrusive and gives a very visual description of how much
juice the Pocket PC has before it needs a recharge. And since it is placed at
the top of the Task Bar, it is visible from about any application in the Pocket
Another nice touch by Spb is extending the capabilities of the built-in File
Explorer. Instead of using an alternative File Explorer altogether, Spb opted to
extend the features by adding Zip support, the ability to see the properties of
the file as well as changing some of its attributes, and adding a Folder Up
Another indispensable feature of Pocket Plus 2.0 is its repeating alarms which
can be configured to fire not only in a simple repeating fashion, but in
ascending order or in a series where the alarm repeats itself in given
intervals. The Alarms can also be set to fire in full volume if needed which
overrides the Pocket PC volume settings.
Spb also provides a WM2003 StartUp fix which is supposed to clear duplicated
records from the notifications database.
With so many features which can be configured by the user, one would think that
reinstalling this application after a hard reset would be a very tedious affair.
In the contrary, setting it up into a new device or one which has just been
hard-reset is a very simple matter of restoring from a backup file. Yes, that is
one more cool feature of Pocket Plus 2.0. You can create a backup of the
settings and use this backup to restore your settings in just a few clicks...
that is if you don't forget to save the backup into either your Pocket PC's
persistent storage or an external storage card.
Putting all these together in one package, which can be selected by the user
depending on what is needed is a big plus even though I would personally want
something which is more modular where components are individually loaded up
instead of a single package. With all the features available in Pocket
Plus 2.0, the install size of 2,083.2 K is quite justifiable. A good 300+ K of
it are actually made up of the seven extended themes. This is all about
features, options, options, and more options. Definitely worth every penny, this
utility compilation is a must have. This should always be the first thing that
goes in any Pocket PC.
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