Wednesday, May 25, 2011

SPB Time for Android review

Having been a fan of SPB software since the good old Pocket PC days, I was keen to see how they would do on other platforms. The first chance came with SPB Shell 3D on Android (which I loved). Now they have released another one, this time in the form of SPB Time - a port of the original Windows Mobile for Pocket PC release. 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 Symbian and iOS.

SPB has been aggressively pursuing new releases on the Android and iOS platforms. We have already seen the release of SPB Shell 3D on Android and SPB Wallet on both iOS and Android platforms - both great applications well worth the admission price. 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.

Like SPB Time for iOS, SPB Time for Android 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. Exclusive for the Android version are homescreen widgets for both analog and digital clock (both skinnable), alarm and moon phase.

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 (from a database of 10000) 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. A partly obscured earth (not in the iOS version) that spins between each cities is visible on the top, giving you a rough visual cue of their locations and whether it is day or night.

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. Nifty I say.

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 what SPB has done, and done well they have, is packaged all these useful tools (and then some) into a well executed package. For only £0.99/US$1.99 (the promotional price for two weeks) on the Android Market, SPB has done it again - creating a product that offers plenty of value.

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