Youtube link for mobile viewing

It's been quite some time since we first saw what SPB Software was working on for Android, way back at Mobile World Congress in February 2010. But today, finally, we have SPB Shell 3D. It's a launcher replacement for Android, born from years of success on Windows Mobile, and we've been quite impressed with it in our several days of testing.

At it's heart, SPB Shell 3D is like any other launcher. You have a number of preconfigured home screens and widgets, and you can tweak things to your liking. SPB has designed Shell 3D with a number of slick animations, including the weather widget and world clock. And you can spin your way from one home screen to another with ease. It's pretty slick, and we could easily use SPB Shell 3D as our launcher.

Only real problem is the price. At $14.95, it's priced itself out of the consumer launcher market. There are just too many free and inexpensive options. On the other hand, SPB has made no secret that it's marketing its SPB UI Engine toward manufacturers, so don't be surprised if you see built in to upcoming phones.

SPB Shell 3D is available for Android smartphones running Android 2.1 and up, so long as they have an OpenGL ES 2.0 compatible graphic controller. If you can part with the cash, we've got download links after the break.


Reader comments

SPB Shell 3D for Android: A very slick launcher that's just too expensive


We paid $30 for the WinMo version, and we were happy. I love the fact that SPB has entered the Android market. They are super talented, and many of us WinMo users were stoked with their Mobile Shell. Again, at $30 we loved it.

Definitely. I think the WinMo version was something like $30, which wasn't an uncommon price for a premium mobile app in the pre-iPhone era. Any double digit price for a smartphone application is a tough sell these days.

I used it for my omnia too. Extended the life a bit. But there is no chance i'm spending this much now when almost all android interfaces are good (including stock) and there are so many great free & cheap alternatives.

for my samsung omnia yeah...but for my droid x with gingerbread and launcherpro+ ?
are u serious spb?
im going to 4shared it on spite.

OMG... Its sooooo smoooooooth for all those animations!... I LOVE IT! Damn!

But 14.95? Seriously? I don't even think I've seen an app that expensive (other than the Slingbox and Logmein apps) . . .

MailDroid Pro is $17.99. It is a great product though and I haven't found a cheaper mail app that can compare. $14.95 for this launcher and Launcher Pro is comparable and so much cheaper. OK, Launcher Pro is not 3D, but cool with the flip screens, etc...

Dear Amazon,

Please make this a freebie app of the day coming up soon...

Yours Truly,

with android having the base that they do i'm sure they'll find they will earn ALOT more money if they drop the price to a much lower price.

I tried out the beta but it was just soooo gaudy and flashy. If there were a free version without all the bells and whistles I might have given it more of a shot but that interface is just so busy and with all of the great free/cheap alternatives out there I can't see buying this. I have a feeling this will get heavily pirated.

Eh, doesn't seem that fantastic.. I mean, it's neat, but certainly not $15.

Best part about it though was Phil giving up on ol' Lefty Thumb. Fun stuff.

SPB was awesome for WinMo. They made great quality products (SPB Diary,
Pocket Plus, etc) that made the Windows stock experience so much better.

They have to realize that the Android experience is not as problematic as what they were used to dealing with.

I've used this and found it consumed 98Mb of my RAM on my DInc. Had to uninstall it as I like my droid to run barebones. Awsome idea, but needs to be an OS, not a shell, IMHO...

Ten would be the max for me. Only because i hate blur and i like some of the minor features. If i still had sense and my evo i wouldnt pay more than a couple bucks. They are way off on price point. If they matched others they would make a killing and build a better base in android. At 15 they wont get anywhere and may not think android is worth it. That would be too bad because its a great product.

It looks like a nice app but price wise, NO. I will keep what my Incredible stock and use my fancy widget for weather. If it was no higher than 8 bucks I might consider it, but 15.00 ? Not likely

It looks nice, way to expensive. They should offer a trial version that expires if they ever hope to sell it to more than a handful of people.

I had it before on winmo

there are some nice features but no so much that
I wanna replace LauncherPro for it but I will say

They could REALLY use this on WP7 to replace those hideous butt ugly tiles

Ahhh.... I wasn't this really bad! I hope they drop the price! Remember when 8pen came out WAY overpriced and within a couple days they dropped the price. Hopefully they's what happens here... Cuz this looks sweet!

I think 9.95 would be ok for this App. $15 is a bit high in my opinion. That said, it looks very cool and I suspect took a lot of development to make this happen. So I guess someone needs to get paid for all that work!

So I guess someone in SPB's marketing department didn't graduate at the top of their class. $5 and they would've sold many hundreds of thousands. $15 and they'll sell many (maybe?) thousands.

Yup $15x1000 = $15,000 (lots of money to me) but $5x100,000 = $500,000. $5 would've been waaaaaaaaaaaay better and that's what I'd do as a dev.

So far on the Market there's <50 downloads and about 300 rates, haha 250+ refunds.

Tried it out. It takes some getting used to. Gorgeous UI, but if you've changed your DPI settings, then regular android widgets (Beautiful Widgets, ExtendedControls) don't stretch all the way across the screen. It would be nice if you could change the program icons the way you can in LPP too.

As for the price, I'm with the majority. Drop it to $5-7 and I'll buy it, but I'm not paying $15 for it, especially since I've already bought LauncherPro Plus.

People unfortunately have been spoiled and are now too accustomed to cheap / free software. Touchdown (Exchange) and QuickOffice (HD) are both more than $15 and worth every penny IMO.

It looks like it offers a better experience that what's out there? The widgets, etc included probably could sell by themselves for $3-$5 dollars a piece? Why exactly is this price point rubbing some many the wrong way aside from the fact that it's not inline with expected / current market offerings?

Perhaps, they need to put out a free base product for the leechers and then offer add-on packages ($5, $10, etc) via the in-app purchasing api that's in place now? Would that placate people?

Both of your examples (Touchdown and Quick Office) have no good competition in the cheap/free space. On top of that, Quick Office HD launched with a $15 price ($10 if you got both coupons like I did).

This is the home launcher market. Most people are willing to pay $5 it seems, I'm in that group (not free). The most expensive home launchers I see are $3, so even $5 is almost double that.

QuickOffice HD is worth it from a business point of view, it practically turns your tablet into a laptop as it can open excel, docs and presentations.

This adds 16 panels total.. And folder options that expands to list inside folders. I do like this.. I will wait a bit before I jump..

Granted at 15$ it's considerably pricier than what most of are used to, but factoring in everything it delivers, how smoothly it performs and how innovative it is, I think it's worth the price; however I make a very comfortable living as a software engineer. So I have both an appreciation for the time and effort it takes to produce something like this and the disposable income to support the developers. I'm not sure I'd be as ready to buy if I was earning $10/hr stocking shelves at Big Box ...

So I test drove it, works very nicely on the HTC Evo. There are a few concerns:
1) I use the Wireless Hot Spots, there is 100% no way to add this button as a feature to any of the menus, I just tried.
2) The phone HEATS UP.. True its a great deal of processing power going on, however a hot phone in the pocket, no my idea of fun.
3) Flickr "of the day" is your only Flickr option, you can't change it to your own account, an issue for me.
4) The World time globe, cool feature, however, if the time says p.m. it does not reflect a shadow on that part of the world, almost its backwards.
Outside of that, its pretty impressive, i'll re-consider when newer patches come out, and these bugs are fixed.

I want to get it so badly but have found no reviews by Evo users. One question, is your Evo rooted?

Update: I finally decided to get it on my rooted Evo and it is awesome. It runs very smoothly and all my applications are functional. I do miss my scrollable news widget, which is not compatible but I made up for it by customizing. This thing lets you have as many as 16 pages and because of the carousel 3D effect, navigation is a breeze. I love the world clock and globe effect, which I find handy as a frequent overseas traveler. At a cost of $15, I think it is worth it for a launcher very well done. It is cheaper than checking in an extra luggage at the airport.

I totally agree with all your point. I'm having the same experience with SBP. How did you customize the launcher to use scrollable news widgets.

In my opinion $15 bucks is high but the eye candy it offers is no way comparable to anything on the market so far. I dont care if LPP or ADW or GO LAUNCHER are awesome cause they truly are but EYE candy is what I want, if I want to compare and brag about my phone to iphoners this is the only way ill beat IPHONE's eye candy. Haters gonna hate but thats my point of view.

With this shell iphone eye candy is nowwhere near me now!!!! HAIL ANDROID + SPB = WIN

i'm just going to wait until someone leaks it for free. $14.99 is going towards gas...not a god forsaken app.

I want it way bad!! It looks way nice, but I dunno if I wanna pay $15 for it. I think it would out do Launcher Pro for sure so I dunno....we'll see if I'm feeling spontaneous some day soon.

Makes me really sad how de-valued mobile software has become, that people complain about the price of this launcher. If it's good, then we should reward their code by paying for it.
I miss having full desktop competing Office Suites on my phone (come to Android Softmaker!!!), and even the word "app" is insulting to good software...

SPB=some people Come on, $15.00 is not going to break anyone's bank. Especially after you spent all that money on your smartphone. I say take the $15.00 get a cheap bottle of wine some cheese and be
Root Evo4g cm7 nightly with spb.
Sweet like candy.

Maybe they should have checked prices on other launcher apps for android...??

Seems cool, and i would even consider $5... but $15 they are out of their MIND!

seems like a very smooth and snappy interface, but not a lot of configuration options.

That being said, on any phone other than an HTC (i LOVE SENSE) this would be awesome to see come from the manufacturer and i would be totally happy with it in that aspect.

$15...really? Its not that nice to justify that. In comparison to the other available options...ill pass.

I remember the SPB suite of apps on WinMo some years back. They had polish back then, but I also remember them being memory hogs and battery drainers... Would have appreciated a more thorough review that addressed these issues.

For $15, the program would have to be more than just eye candy--I like function with my form. Unfortunately 15 minutes is not enough time to properly test a home screen replacement.

What are people acting like $15 is $50? Their launcher is unlike any other out at the moment. They put a lot of work into it and they deserve to be compensated. Don't steal their work.

We paid $30 for the WinMo version, and we were happy. I love the fact that SPB has entered the Android market. They are super talented, and many of us WinMo users were stoked with their Mobile Shell. Again, at $30 we loved it.

Yea but WinMO is garbage. Android isn't that bad and other launchers have more features than this.

Yes it does some pretty cool things.. but not many. It lacks features and the ones it does have isn't worth paying 5 times what others launchers go for.

Save the spoiled talk, this is mobile software that doesn't offer anything more than eye candy. GPS is real mobile software and it's included with my phone... no thanks.

We paid $30 but at that same time the equivalent of $1 (or free!) Android apps cost $10-15! The market has changed, that is a fact. I paid $30 for calendar apps, stuff like that, I spent lots on WINMO software, I know.

it seems that the only complaint here is people complaining that it's too expensive... Which isn't really a complaint... more like a whine... I have purchased way way more expensive apps on my android phone.. If the cost is too much for you, no need to whine about it.. It's not like you have to have it..

15 bucks= 3 beer=2 Margaritas, so I bought it and couldn't be happier. I paid 3 bucks for Launcher Pro and 4 bucks for ADW EX both apps are almost abandoned and don't look as nice and are not as smooth.

The people that say it is too expensive. Sure if you prefer Sky Vodka over Grey Goose go ahead. You get what you pay for and this home replacement looks and feels very professional and is high quality.

What is the overall performance of the phone like when the app is loaded in memory, are the other apps' performance affected at all? What about games like NOVA?

I wouldn't bite even at $5... And the price isn't the issue. I'd gladly pay $10 if it was the greatest launcher ever, heck I've donated a ten-spot to half a dozen devs who just give their work away for free on Xda (Fresh for his ROM, Toast for his work on root, jschi for notification pane widgets, etc.). My real issue is the amount of wasted space all over those widgets, and let's face it, you're mainly paying for the widgets and fancy gfx; since it doesn't appear to give you a very high degree of customization.

I'll stick with ADW EX (+ Pure & Beautiful widgets), it's plenty smooth and I'm sure it consumes a lot less resources, while also allowing me to cram a lot more info per screen. Those who put a higher stock on eye candy or a simpler look might disagree, I think $15 is gonna be a tough sell even for them though... $15 buys a whole lotta widgets.

ok curiosity just killed the cat, I have 5 minutes before my refund window expires, and it still hasn't loaded...

What a bunch of Garbage. Installed it and it didn't do anything so I rebooted. Now my Droid X is stuck on the Droid Eye and will not boot at all!

what did you end up doing? I had the same problem this morning. Kind of pissed. I downloaded it from the market, pressed home and nothing I shut off my phone and now its stuck at the droid x eye.

I figured out how to fix it.

Boot it in safe mode (power up while holding the menu button)

Uninstall the crappy program

reboot and it works fine now


I had the same problem as most. Installed it and couldnt not boot the phone, was stuck at the droid eye. Had to do a factory reset.

The performance really sucks, loading the app takes forever, and the features are severely lacking. This is a nice idea but my Captivate is not loving it. The eye-candy is the only area I see where there is any +, this app needs work, even for $5. The 3d carousel is less efficient for me than the way LP, ADW, or Zeam previews. There are no swipe gestures, just so many features I'm used to are now missing. Back to ADW for me, expensive lesson learned.

Has anyone installed this Launcher on a HTC Desire? I see too many failed installs for my level of comfort.

Yes, it launched at first but after running an app and exiting I couldn't go into SPB anymore and I was forced to load my previous launcher, that's when I refunded it.

Some people can't even boot into their phone with SPB set as default.

I downloaded from the link at the top just to check it out before dropping $15 and it's something I think I will buy in the future but not before some updates. I agree with braj, no swipe gestures + not being able to resize widgets is a huge negative for me. Not to mention the fact that you can't arrange icons and widgets the way you want to. If you want anything on the bottom row, the top 3 rows have to be full :( as far as performace, it freakin ROCKS my Vibrant, everything moves just as smoothly as the video on the Nexus S. So hopefully stuff like this is updated in, I realize this is brand new so they need some time, but I love that stuff so I won't drop $15 to downgrade.

For the money, one would expect a great app and good customer service. This one lacks either. LPP gives you way more functionality and is less expensive to boot.

The only reason we ended up with this expensive, yet half-cooked app, is because SPB was shooting for loftier contracts with Phone providers, and could not deliver past the shiny exterior.

No thanks, from this gadget fan.

So I downloaded it yesterday. I love the way it works but I do have a few problems that my Nexus S has never, EVER had a problem with.

Problem 1) The phone slows down occasionally when using the text widget.

Problem 2) Sometimes the app can use upwards of 100MB of RAM (this SUCKS)

Problem 3) You HAVE to be constantly watch how many apps you have open for it to run properly. Otherwise it will cause your phone to freeze. It caused my Nexus S to freeze today so bad I had to wait a good 5 minutes to power off. My Nexus S never freezes. It runs like Charlie Sheen's Tiger Blood courses through its veins.

The UI could be awesome, but it will need a few updates. All in all I'm fine with the $15. Its a high end UI. You can use Launcher Pro or ADW but they are nothing more than small updates compared to this. IMHO

I agree. Honestly $15 is 2 drinks and tip where i live, so installing this wasnt too bad. I love the fact that u can rename the "panels" to whatever u want, and the text widget is awesome. Plus i just like the way it runs overall, replaces that old tired sense ui that my phone came preloaded with. Mytouch 4g

I got it yesterday... I like it and I now have what I want where I want.
Moving stuff around into some logical order.. It even name panels for what I have placed.

$15 was a lot...

I have a few missing..
No live wallpaper
No control of 4G off/on function (in setup works)

Some Likes
messages are scrollable on the screen of the latest received.
The time with the globe is only 3, wish I had that 1 more one

15 minutes is definitely not enough time to test a home replacement app that and my download froze at 4% for a few minutes, but from what i got to try out i liked, seamed to work pretty smoothly on my Droid2Gbl. I refunded it for now, money is kinda tight, may download again at a later time if the price drops and they fix a few things. but its nice.

How would it work on the EVO 3D phone? I would like to try it but that price is keeping me away............

Good software ought to be able to command a fair price. 15 is high, but it's not outrageous. Now, if only this worked. It's very pretty eye candy. The ability to rearrange panels and add additional panels is very useful--a lot of flexibility for me. But, I've tried this now for a month and I've tried to give it an honest and fair shot. The 3D carousel often freezes--sometimes it will begin working again after a few minutes, sometimes not, requiring me to reboot. I have this phone (Droid X) for convenience. Waiting for screens to unlock and having to reboot 6 or 7 times every day is NOT convenient. The phone heats up dramatically. Battery life has been cut by almost a third. Icons disappear from screens for no reason. Sometimes it works like a dream; other times--most other times--it lags and is very choppy. Sometimes I get nothing but a black screen in response to my selecting an icon. Aesthetically, this is right on the money; functionally, it has made my phone a frustrating thing. The delays, reboots, dropped icons and various other funny behaviors (since installing this even my alarm clock doesn't work right) have all resulted in an enormous waste of my very valuable time. Devs don't respond to e-mail inquiries for help or refunds. previous comments suggest satisfaction with previous products; I can't say that this has had any effect on this one. My experience has been 90 percent negative, and the fact that DEvs won't respond to inquiries makes them untrustworthy, in my book. I did have a prior hint that this would be trouble; Spb 3D was recommended to me by a Best Buy Geek Squad guy. I should have known....