Spb offers Windows Mobile facelift with Online Shell

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German developer Spb has unveiled its latest iPhone-like Windows Mobile enhancement, but has refused to rule out developing software for Google's rival Android mobile platform.

Spb's Online Shell user interface runs on top of Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating system to offer a touch screen-friendly entry point to online multimedia content and services.

It provides easy access to online radio, television, video-on-demand, weather, gaming, music and shopping via Windows Mobile handsets.

Online Shell was showcased at this week's CeBIT Australia IT exhibition in Sydney.

Spb Online Shell will help mobile network operators deliver improved content experiences to subscribers, says Spb chief executive Sebastian-J Schmidt.

"The demand for mobile services is strong throughout the world. In Australia, we’re now actively seeking partnerships with innovative mobile carriers, and believe that Spb Online Shell will resonate well here, since Australia is an early adopter of 3G and streaming content for mobile devices," Schmidt said.

"The problem for many users is they do not understand how to use their mobile devices, so we've built a single entry point for all these services which is easy to use."

The commercial version of Spb Online Shell is scheduled to appear in Australia and around the world later this year and will come pre-loaded on some Windows Mobile devices. Online Shell's use of large icons and onscreen gestures reduces the reliance on the stylus to navigate menus and access content.

The expansion of Spb's touch screen-friendly interface for Windows Mobile comes as smartphone manufacturer HTC works on the second version of its TouchFlo interface designed for Windows Mobile.

Software developer Mobilityflow also released version 3.1 of its Touch Commander Suite for Pocket PC Phones this week.

Just as HTC has previously confirmed it is open to the possibility of porting its TouchFlo interface to Google's Android mobile operating system, Schmidt confirmed Spb is watching Android closely.

"Let's see if the business model of Android works," Schmidt said. "It's not proven right now, but Windows Mobile is. We see what's happening in the world, but still today we think Windows Mobile is a great platform and we want to stick with it."

"If Windows Mobile was going down, we would definitely switch for sure. You have no other choice, you have to survive as a company, but it's not what we're seeing right now. Right now we see that Windows Mobile is growing and what we've heard that Windows Mobile 7 sounds great."
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