Press Release: SPB Shell 3D Brings Next Generation UI to Android Users

SPB Shell 3D introduces the next generation user interface while keeping all advantages of Android. SPB Shell 3D replaces the Home screen of your smartphone. SPB Shell 3D is a successor of the SPB Mobile Shell product line. During the beta testing period SPB Shell 3D was known as SPB Mobile Shell 5.0 for Android. The previous versions of SPB Mobile Shell were the #1 best selling application, won more
than 30 awards and were shipped by more than 15 phone manufactures and mobile operators including Sony Ericsson, Toshiba and O2. SPB Mobile Shell product line supported Windows Mobile and Symbian. The initial release of SPB Shell 3D is designed for Android.

Intuitive Mental Model

When you use software you always have some kind of model in your mind that reflects the structure of the user interface. It is important to make this model as simple and as consistent as possible. The 3D gives you a way to create such a model in a very natural way. We grow up in a three dimensional world and all these years of practice can really help users if software is designed in a proper meaningful way. SPB Carousel brings home screen pages bundled with all the features in a simple and intuitive 3D model. It is also important that you can see all features at one glance.

Smart Folders

Another example of the SPB approach to mobile usability is how SPB Shell 3D implements folders. Folders have been used forever – but nothing has changed for over ten years. If you look at iPhone folders they are almost the same folders you can find on Windows XP. Many people find that they start using less and less of the applications they have put into a folder. This happens because these applications are out of the main home screen context. So many users who organize applications in folders by category on iPhone put the most frequently used applications of each category directly on the home screen, instead of placing them in the corresponding folder. SPB Shell 3D introduces a new patent-pending system for mobile folders. The most important applications can be seen directly on the home screen. And you can launch them in one tap. You can also open the folder to launch any application or to organize the elements to your needs. This approach allows users to logical structure their content and still keep the most frequently used applications accessible directly from the home screen. SPB folders also support scrolling, so you can put as many elements as you want into a folder. By default folders are named automatically by analyzing their content. Also you can name it manually. To achieve it, open a folder in the edit mode and tap on its header.

3D Widgets

SPB Shell 3D supports standard Android widgets. It also offers SPB widgets that have additional features such as 3D mode, on-fly-skin change, and magic animations in the carousel mode. There were many attempts to put 3D widgets directly to the Home screen. Although some widgets (like pile of pictures) look ok on the Home screen, still it doesn’t always play well with the traditional home screen and other widgets which is by its design flat. For most widgets the flat view provides better functionality and usability than a 3D view. In SPB Shell 3D we solved this problem by introducing widgets that can be in the two states. When you scroll via your Home screen pages they are flat. When you activate the widget, the Home screen scene changes a bit to create a 3D space for the widget. In this space the 3D widget looks very natural and offer some functionality and entertainment only possible in 3D.

Discoverable Features

Modern smartphones have more and more features and programs bundled with them. But how can a new user discover them? Reading a thick manual is one option, but is it really the best way for all the users? Another way would be just launching all the programs one by one, but again that’s quite a long, tedious and boring process. With SPB Shell 3D users can use SPB Carousel to explore device features and programs with so called “magic animations”. Users get an overview of installed widgets and programs at a single glance. The 3D idle panel animations show the way device features work in a fun way without sacrificing the usability: once you touch the screen intending to rotate the carousel or activate the panel, the animation is terminated and your gesture is processed immediately. In this way you can see all features presented on your Home screen without touching the device. This is a very nice to explore devices features in a store (if SPB Shell 3D is preinstalled) or when you start using SPB Shell 3D. Also now it is easy to answer questions from your friends about unique features of your device: just show them your carousel with magic animations!

Performance

Performance is a critical part of usability. Great performance makes the difference between good and perfect UI. SPB UI Engine (the underlying graphic engine of SPB Shell 3D) is written completely in the native C++ code to take advantage of every CPU/GPU tick. Therefore, the designed UI can match the screen refresh rate by rendering consistently at 60 FPS on most modern Android smartphones. It assures that your UI is as fluid as possible on a mobile screen. Please note that on devices with v-sync on (most Android smartphones) program can never output more frames than the screen refresh rate (60 FPS). On devices that have v-sync off SPB Shell 3D can generate more than 60 FPS.

Battery Life

Device battery life is a fundamental bottleneck of modern smartphones. SPB Shell 3D is designed, from ground up, bearing power consumption in mind at every design step. Battery life tests confirm that, SPB Shell 3D – despite of wearing more advanced visual effects – consume less battery power than popular UI solutions from top device manufactures, and even less than that consumed by the vanilla Android shell, in typical Home screen user scenarios. If you are interested in our testing methodology and would like to see more detailed battery test results, please contact us.

OS Upgrade: Solving Android Fragmentation Issues

The biggest challenge with custom user interfaces on Android-based devices is the need to release a new ROM upgrade quickly; immediately after Google releases a new version of the platform. Currently, the solution to this requirement is unsatisfactory for most Android vendors. Today, it takes several months for an OEM to release a ROM upgrade for a new Android version. Sometimes OEMs don’t even bother to update a device to the latest Android. The reason for this is that most (if not all) customer user interfaces depend too much – heavily so to speak – on the platform version and often rely on some proprietary tweaks and modification to the underlying platform. From the beginning, our design goal was to make sure that SPB Shell 3D can just work on new Android platforms. All our design decisions take this aspect into consideration. For our Android version we don’t tweak the underlying OS and minimize dependencies on OS features that can be broken in the upcoming releases. In fact, the Android version of SPB Shell 3D is just an APK file that can be installed virtually on any Android platform starting from 2.1 (given that the version supports the underlying hardware).

Widget and Program Organization

  • With automatic widget arrangement it is easy to keep your panels tidy and compact.
  • User can easily uninstall programs directly from the program list by choosing “Uninstall apps” from the menu.

Hardware Requirements

The main hardware requirement for SPB Shell 3D is an OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible hardware accelerator. Fortunately, most modern Android smartphones have it. Although SPB Shell 3D works on all OpenGL ES 2.0 devices, it shows its best performance on devices equipped with 2nd generation hardware accelerators. For example:

  • PowerVR SGX 540 (for example, Google Nexus S or Samsung Galaxy S)
  • Qualcomm Adreno 205 (for example, HTC Desire HD)

The current version of SPB Shell 3D is designed only for smartphones. Tablets are not supported by the initial release.

Supported Operating Systems

SPB Shell 3D currently supports the following operating systems:

  • Android 2.1 and higher

Product Data Sheet

  • Product version 1.0
  • Installer size (apk) 8,99 MB
  • Supported languages English, German, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese,
  • Russian, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese,
  • Polish, Czech, Thai, Arabic, Dutch, Danish, Czech, Polish,
  • Dutch, Greek, Slovak, Hebrew, Swedish, Norwegian,
  • Finish, Korean, Turkish
  • Price USD 14.95
  • Release date March 30th, 2011
  • Hardware requirements Open GL ES 2.0 compatible GPU, Smartphone form factor
  • Supported OS Android 2.1 and later
  • Size in ROM 14,68 MB

Purchase SPB Shell 3D at Android Market:

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.spb.shell3d

SPB Shell 3D product page:

http://spb.com/android-software/shell/

PRESS RELEASE:

March 30th, 2011 – SPB Software, a leading mobile software developer, has launched SPB Shell 3D for Android – a 3D user interface for end users with the best-in-class user experience that offers a seamless fusion of functional usability and visual aesthetics. SPB Shell 3D is a product built on SPB UI Engine – a technology platform – optimized for building next generation, high-performance mobile user interfaces.

SPB Shell 3D is a successor of the SPB Mobile Shell product line. The SPB Mobile Shell series is the most awarded mobile UI solution available on the market today. It has been publicly recognized as the number one best-selling mobile UI application across all smartphone platforms for the past 4 years. SPB Mobile Shell has also been successful among mobile carriers and OEMs, and has been deployed by over 15 device manufacturers and carriers, including Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, and O2.

SPB Shell 3D provides the users with a rich engaging user experience that transforms the whole Home screen into a 3D space. Fast switching between screens with a single gesture, unique smart folders with easy access to all important apps directly from the home screen, and a rich set of animated 3D widgets, make the navigation simple, effective and intuitive. The underlying SPB UI Engine makes the UI fast, natural and highly responsive.

“The SPB Mobile Shell product line became very successful mainly because it matched up impeccably well with qualities that end users really like,” said Sebastian-Justus Schmidt, CEO of SPB Software. “SPB Shell 3D is a fine example of the UI that can be created using SPB UI Engine showcasing its capabilities, and it becomes a solid base for the custom UI solutions we create for device manufacturers and mobile operators.”

 

Pricing and Availability

SPB Shell 3D currently supports Android 2.1 and higher. Available for Smartphones with an OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible graphic controller.
SPB Shell 3D is available for 14.95 USD.

Further Information

View SPB Shell 3D at Android Market
SPB Shell 3D product page
SPB Shell 3D screenshots page
UI solutions for OEMs and carriers

About SPB Software (www.spb.com)

SPB is a leading brand in mobile software, standing for a unique line of popular consumer products and partnerships with the world’s most innovative handset makers and wireless carriers. SPB’s software solutions deliver richer smartphone experiences and enable subscribers to do more with their mobile data connections. SPB Software is the maker of the world’s single number one best-selling mobile application – SPB Mobile Shell. For more information, please visit www.spb.com.

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http://twitter.com/spb_software

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http://feeds2.feedburner.com/spbnews

Media contact:
Jenny Pyatko
pr@spb.com

 

 

 

 

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