Nokia N8: Hands-on with SPB Mobile Shell 3.7

Back in May I took a look at SPB Mobile Shell 3.5 for S60 5th Edition devices. My own Nokia N8 arrived a couple of days ago and then just yesterday I received an email that SPB Mobile Shell 3.7 was released with support for Symbian^3 and the N8. I jumped all over it and immediately put it on my N8 to test it out. After a few hours of use I can tell you that it is staying on my N8 since it improves on a decent user experience.

I captured a few screenshots below in the gallery to go along with my video embedded below. I won’t go through a full review like I did with 3.5 since most of the features are the same. Actually, here are the main features of SPB Mobile Shell as listed in the press release:

  • Compatibility with Symbian^3 and new Nokia devices like N8
  • Support for Nokia homescreen widgets
  • Full screen view
  • Multiple customizable homescreens
  • Widgets for tasks, agenda, weather, search and a lot of others
  • Widget-based photo contacts
  • Launcher with fast access to all the features
  • Support for the 3D carousel

So looking at that feature list and testing it out for myself, the things that stand out to me are the support for the N8 widgets and the ability to add even more with the SPB widgets, the better dialer/contact experience, slick wireless manager, smart dial from the contacts phone dialer, and slick weather application.

I thought the task manager was handy, but still like the Symbian^3 one better and the good part is you have full control over which one to use.

I would like a way to organize my app shortcuts into folders rather than using just their default ones.

The one major issue I had that looks to be a bug ready for a quick kill was in the calendar. I was SO looking forward to seeing a calendar view like they do on their site with Agenda View where you can tap the date below and see all of your appointments for the day above since Symbian and Nokia never took care to even think about Calendar development. Unfortunately, it looks like there is a disconnect between SPB Mobile Shell and the Calendar database so when I tap on a day in the Agenda View the default calendar opens up to 01/01/1900. Well, I certainly wasn’t alive then so there will never be appointments for that date. SPB, please fix this for me ASAP!

SPB Mobile Shell 3.7 is available for $29.95, but if you purchased version 3.5 already then the upgrade is free. There is also a 15-day trial available so you can give it a go before deciding if it is worth the $30.


48 Comments to Nokia N8: Hands-on with SPB Mobile Shell 3.7

October 13, 2010

I’m wondering as with previous versions of symbian, these apps take a big hit on battery and slow the system down tremendously. What is your take on SPB mobile shell 3.7?

October 13, 2010

Nice to see it works great. But how bad does it affect the battery?

[…] Nokia Experts. Aplicativos, Celulares, Freeware, Nokia, Smartphones, Software, […]

October 13, 2010

nice so symbian has become so bad that we need shells to make it usable, great. so can we just call symbian windows mobile 6.X? haha

[…] SURSA […]

October 13, 2010

@jim: I guess that android must be horrible since SPB shell 5 will be available for it… sigh. Unsuccessful troll is unsuccessful.

October 13, 2010

@jim: You do know that one of the most popular apps on the Android Market is Launcher Pro, right? That is a skin.

best mobile
October 14, 2010

I like nokia.

[…] foto e video via […]

October 14, 2010

@Robert you can use this app up to 15 days for free to check how it affects the battery :)

Matthew Miller
October 14, 2010

Robert, I don’t see why SPB Mobile Shell would have any more impact than the default interface since there is nothing really live running in it. I haven’t seen any noticeable difference over the last two days of using it myself, but like it was mentioned you can try it for free for 15 days and test it out yourself too.

October 14, 2010

@Matthew Miller, When you say it supports S^3 widgets does that mean all widgets such as the music player widget and FM transmitter?

October 14, 2010

Having played with the SPB 3.7 demo for about a day, it looks like there is support for only some of the S^3 widgets that come packaged with the N8. There is no Facebook/Twitter widget, no sound widget or display, the media player widget inside the shell is sorely lacking (no artist or album art, just song title), and the e-mail widget only tells you the number of messages; it doesn’t show you the titles of the next couple e-mails like the S^3 homescreen does.

Having said that, I love the SPB shell as it gives the “wow” factor that the S^3 homescreens lack. It also provides a more functional weather app, as opposed to the buggy and useless AccuWeather. IMHO it is worth the 30 bucks since it gives it a nice shine, but it could definitely be better. Should be interesting to see if the user community can provide some good hacks for it.

Keith Lim
October 15, 2010

I’ve tried this on my N8, and happy to say there is NO lag! This is a marvelous piece of software. I have to say Shell apps are not new, and to those Nokia-haters, please get your facts right! I’ve been using Launchers, Shells apps since Palm OS, Windows Mobile, and now, Nokia. Android uses it too. Apple iphone users would probably want to use it too, IF Steve Jobs allowed them to. Haha!

October 15, 2010

@ ryan: If you want all those widget and more you simple have to add them to your phone. There is a huge data base of widgets.

[…] Nokia N8 & SPB Mobile Shell […]

October 18, 2010

I have tried SPB Shell v. 3,7 on my Nokia N8, and it has two bugs: The name of the operator is not showing on the upper left corner of the screen, it just says “Searching …”, all the time. Secondly, the weather app will not work, it shows “no data”, whatever city I use.

Anybody else experiencing the same, and is there any solution?

(I have mailed SPB, they ask me to send a screenshot of the problem.)

October 20, 2010

@ Best of Smartphone Experts, 17 Oct 2010 | Motorola Droid X : Will those work on the 3.7 version of spb??

October 20, 2010

@ duncan : Will those work on the 3.7 version of spb??

sorry for directing to the wrong person :)

October 23, 2010

I tried it but for Nokia 5230, adding widget function did not work.

November 10, 2010

My 5230 won’t add widgets either. Bit of a pain.

November 14, 2010

I did another review on the SPB Shell. No bugs aside from the known Agenda calendar bug.

SPB Mobile Shell for Symbian^3
November 18, 2010

[…] yang dikutip dari Nokiaexperts, SPB Mobile Shell yang sebelumnya sudah meluncur duluan di Symbian S60v5  ini memempunyai […]

ankit sharma
November 29, 2010

hey i have a question…i m using spb mobishell on my nokia n8……and once my phone simply freezed..wouldnt do anything…wouldnt even turn off…my freinds had similiar problem and they uninstalled spb and now their handset is working like a charm… is it safe to use spb? i mean i hope it doesnt do any damage to ma phone?

December 6, 2010


i installed SPB Shell on my Nokia N8 and it displays searching in the upper right corner all the time, as posted in here before!

any help would be appreciated!


December 9, 2010

Hi ….
I have installed SPB mobile Shell 3.7 in my N8. I have to say its incredible and it does add the wow factor to N8. But it eats the battery like a pie . Is there any way to disable it other then just uninstalling ??????????
I tired a lot but couldn’t find an option …………… Plz help me out with this

December 17, 2010

have same bug with operator name not showing, just searching all of the time, but have not experienced the other calendar or weather bugs reported above.

December 17, 2010

You’re right the same bug on my phone – no operator visible while on the home Nokia screen it is in place. It’s pity Nokia has not developed more smart think like SBP did.

December 31, 2010

It’s a good improvement from the default UI. I’m going to try it for a while. Thanks

January 3, 2011

I have installed SPB mobile Shell 3.7 in my Nokia 5530 XM. I have to say its incredible and it does add the wow factor to my Nokia 5530 XM. i feel that i’ve NEW Phone in My Hand again….Well Done Shell, U do a GREAT JOB….

January 5, 2011

I’ve downloaded the SPB Shell onto my Nokia N8 and have been running it for 3 weeks now and here are my findings.

  1. Definitely gives you the customization you are looking for, the flow, ease of set up, and contact system are all great.
  2. Not all widgets are supported and not too many come standard with 3.7, would be great to have a FB, music player, stock market, etc.
  3. SPB is a memory hog, if you have too many apps/widgets running in the background and ram is low, you will get frozen screens/re-boots

All in all a great start, hopefully many of the bugs will be resolved by 5.0, reminds me of Google OS ver 1.6!

El Marko
January 30, 2011

I’d just about kill for the Agenda view, in SPB Mobile Shell (on the Nokia N8). Just about everything else, though, I could do without.

One thing I really wish the SPB Mobile Shell would do it not place itself primary to the N8 home screens. As it is, an SPB widget is “run the home screen” (or something to that effect). I would prefer to be able to invoke some of the SPB screens, from within the Nokia’s home screens.

I could not find a user forum, for SPB Mobile Shell. Maybe I’ve just not looked hard enough, but it seems to be as though SPB is short-changing its users by charging a premium price without fostering an active user and widget-developer community.

February 1, 2011

hi, iv been using it for a few days now, very nice overall but sometimes feel the symbian 3 ui is simpler and more efficient but its on the user i guess. however as for bugs, here are my finding,,
sometimes backlight wont turn off at all even after using side lock, locks but light stays on.
some online widgets keep turning wifi on without consent etc.
if only there was a way to change carousel screens other dan the default ones. all in all nice but needs improvement in some areas. but thats with anything isnt it.

February 1, 2011

one more thing, you may find having to restart the device more often than one would have. sometimes to optimize ram, other times for your peace of mind.

February 20, 2011

i have a qustion…:
how can i create skin for SPB shell? for symbian…
Please somebody answer me…please…

February 24, 2011

Im trying this app. Only one question, How can I put the dialer with SPB on my N8?

March 19, 2011

heyy if you still want to use this app after 15 days trial, i have a trick.uninstall it.then u need xplore it.then open xplore.go to c drive(phone memory),then go to data,then go to apps,then delete spb shell _***********.reg.its all done.and now install your trial version spb shell.enjoy…….
it works

och karol 2 download
May 3, 2011

Where can I find more information about this issue?

[…] Another interesting app I didn’t try out is SPB Mobile Shell, a home screen replacement. Video from the hands-on review on […]

May 27, 2011

I goted the time trial of this spb pleas say me where I can download this spb for free and full!!!!!

July 15, 2011

very nice!

August 13, 2011

Rubbish full of bugs. takes too long to boot up>clock screen saver stops working>has “searching in top left because cant read network>generally is unresponsive.

Ps used it for 10 days reverted back to original functionality is more important than some fancy pants icon widgets etc !!!!!!!!!!

August 31, 2011

how to close spb shell on n8

September 2, 2011

Download Spb Shell Themes and Spb Shell 3d for Symbian here:

October 12, 2011

thx44 Comments to Nokia N8: Hands-on with SPB Mobile Shell 3.7

October 12, 2011

45 Comments to Nokia N8: Hands-on with SPB Mobile Shell 3.7

kiany amin
October 23, 2011

please: register key for nokia n8

December 30, 2011

I was using SPB Shell in my Nokia 5530 hand set from almost 1 year, last week my handset got restart automatically and after that I am unable to run SPB shell, I am getting error mass “SPM mobile cannot be run”. I tried with re installing and hand set factory resetting, Please help me how to solve this problem

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