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your mobile phone booth, secretary included (Spb Phone Suite)

posted in Reviews on August 17th, 2007

Pocket PCs with phone functionality are great, but out-of-the-box, Pocket PC Phones miss a couple of useful, sometimes even essential, applications. There are a couple of software packages available, all with their various advantages and disadvantages. Today, I will be looking at Spb’s Phone Suite.

Off the hook

Right from the start, you can tell that Spb’s Phone suite means business. As the name implies, this is more than a simple application, it is a full fledged suite, containing photo dialing capabilities and a notification system, mixed with black / white listing functions, and topped off with both a manager for profiles and a manager for connections. Finally, the mix gets sprinkled with a few extra enhancements to complete the whole thing.

Much of the functionality that is included in the suite, is available from the Today plugin, which has two main purposes:

Besides from supplying you with important information in the form of showing you missed calls and messages (SMS, MMS, email) the Today plugin also gives you one-tap access to a connection manager and a profile switcher.

Visual Call Indicator

By default, the second row features the photo dialing function, which in itself is very extensive and contains an array of enhancements that make it a lot more useful than comparable photo dialing applications. For users that would rather have a bit more privacy (or simply save some more screen space), you can change the display mode of the photo dialing function to be drop down activated. This will add a third icon, right after the profile icon, but will still provide you with the same functionality.

In its most simple form, the Photo Speed Dial function requires you to select a contact and it will be displayed on your Today screen. In today’s age and time, many people have more than one number they can be reached on, so Spb Phone Suite lets you select the (primary) number you want to call.

To make the photo dialing even more useful, Spb Software House includes a whole set of avatars, but you can always use your own pictures. Either way, the photo speed dial function is that Phone Suite hooks into the Outlook contacts and does not require you to re-create your photo contacts database, contrary to other applications.

Once you have selected a handful of contacts, they will be displayed on your Today screen.

Spb Phone Suite

 

Tap the name, and you will be asked to confirm the calling, one might argue that this could save some calling cost…

Distilling your calls

Apart from providing you with picture dialing capabilities, Spb Phone Suite also includes a black / white list module. While the available options are rather limited, the function in itself is powerful enough to keep pesky, unwanted callers from getting through at inappropriate times.

Profiling your needs

Besides the Today screen integration, which provides you with quick access to a couple of your profiles, there is a second, much bigger part of the actual profile part of the Phone Suite:

Every profile contains a host of settings, such as changing Bluetooth, WiFi and cellphone connectivity as well as adjusting backlight and, of course, ring and speaker volume.

Spb Phone Suite

 

By default, Spb Phone Suite includes a diverse set of profiles that will most probably fit most users without a need for adjustments.

extended services

Next to a host of big features, the suite also includes a number of small, but useful enhancements:

The Phone Notification feature will continuously remind you that you missed a call or text message using whatever method you like.

The Dialer Extension displays pictures (if available) in your call history as well as adds the possibility to quickly reply to a rejected call with a short message.

Hang up

While I could probably go on explaining why SPB Phone Suite is useful, it would make more sense if you would just go and download the trial version from the SPB Softwarehouse website..

For $20, this application provides you with a toolset that should actually have been included by default. SPB Phone Suite, once again does what it is supposed to do and does those things the right way. This application is a no-nonsense way of enhancing the way you communicate with and via your device.