Thursday, March 17, 2011

SPB Time for iPhone review

SPB Software has been a big player in the mobile app world as far as I can remember. I frequently use their apps back when they were developing apps on the Pocket PC platform. Seeing as Windows Mobile is now dead, they have been porting most of their popular applications to other modern platforms like Android, Symbian and iOS.

Apart form a handful of games, there hasn't been many iOS apps yet by SPB. SPB Time is their second business app for the iPhone/iPod Touch. A clock application isn't the most glamorous of apps, but I was curious to see if SPB has done a good job porting it to the iOS platform. For most parts, SPB Time is similar to the ones already released on other platforms with very minor differences, so this review is more or less applicable for all versions of SPB Time on all platforms, including the recently released Symbian version and the original Pocket PC release.

With SPB Time, SPB aims to provide smartphone users with an alternative clock application. What's so interesting about a clock app I hear you ask? After all every smartphone, or even bog standard phone comes with a clock.

Well, SPB Time is an advance skinnable time application with a number of useful features. The features included with SPB Time are extensive. You get both analog and digital clock modes, world clock, a stopwatch, countdown timers, alarms and a calendar for moon phases. All these features are accessible via the aforementioned pull up menu.

If you find the standard clock too simple or boring for your taste - you can download one of the many additional skins available for it. Skins are easily accessible from the pull up menu. While I personally do not care about the type of clock shown, people who uses their smartphones as a replacement desk clock (with cradle) will find this useful and neat.

World Time not only allows you to see the current time in cities around the world, but also view useful infos like which timezones they are on and whether there are any daylight savings (and if there are, when does it end/begins). It also gives you the times for sunrise and sunset on that particular day.

I won't dwell on how the stopwatch and countdown timers work. But if you must know, both tools works just as they should and are fitted with nice big buttons. The Moon Calendar is also simple, giving users a clear view of the current moon phase and all the significant lunar phases, including any future partial or full solar eclipses - a feature that some will probably do find handy.

There are three alarm systems in SPB Time. First, the aptly named Classic Alarm which allows you to choose the sound and volume, alongside the date and time. If you have ever used any alarm system on a phone, this should be a walk in the park. The next one is called Paranoid Alarm which would not stop buzzing you until you solve a puzzle. Finally, the Bio Alarm aims to gently wake you up slowly in a more gentle and less-rude method, starting with ticks, then the sound of birds or water and finally ending with the proper alarm. All three alarm modes are accessible from the main clock.

SPB Time is a well made clock application. Most of the features here can be replicated using various freeware applications; but for only US$1.99 on the App Store, it is worth it if only for the convenience of having all these tools package in a well executed app.

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