Finally all the little extras Microsoft missed in the new Pocket PC 2002 OS release are in this one great add-on!
This software has been on my "must try" list since it was announced just before Christmas. So, needless to say, I was very excited when the gang at Spb Software House offered me a sneak peak of the new 1.2 version.
When Microsoft first released the Pocket PC 2002 platform, it became quickly apparent there were gaps in the functionality that users had previously requested: the "close" button did not actually close applications (instead they were minimized), Pocket Internet Explorer was unable to function in full-screen mode or with multiple windows, repeating alarms were removed (making the Pocket PC a poor alarm clock), and a number of other issues.
A True Close (X) Button + more
With this software installed, Pocket PC 2002 users can finally close their windows instead of 'smart minimizing' them - this allows for better memory management and will stop it from consuming system resources in the background. In addition, when you tap and hold the (X) button a context menu (see image at right) appears that lets you switch between active programs. You can also choose to close or minimize the current program, close all programs or close all programs but the active one.
Full Screen and Multi Screen Pocket IE
One of most sought after enhancements by users was to be able to have several Pocket Internet Explorer windows open at a time for browsing several web sites simultaneously. Pocket PC Plus not only provides this but adds the ability to view sites in full-screen mode (see image at right). Gone are the days where you will have to suffer through the constant clicking of going back and forth from one page to another.
Repeating alarm functionality, removed in the Pocket PC 2002 release, is now back and better than ever. Users can have the alarm repeat at the normal system volume, at maximum volume, or my favorite, ascending volume where the alarm gets louder over time. This little feature kept me aware and on time for some critical meetings last week (even while tucked away in my backpack) during a stint where my new Outlook Beta 2 was crashing and burning repeatedly at work!
Best Today Screen Plug-in
The enhancement that is my top personal favorite is the Today screen plug-in that offers users a quick status on battery life, storage memory (as a percentage or in MB), brightness setting which I use to always drill down and fiddle with, and a quick-launch zone for your most frequently used applications
New features and improvements in version 1.2 include:
Brightness support has been improved, including full support for Dell Axim X5 Pocket PCs.
Repeating Alarm functionality has been enhanced to include support for both tasks and clock alarms. Further, repeating alarms can now be controlled to a greater degree - users can select how many times they want the alarm to repeat, and at what intervals.
Device battery life is protected from depletion - users can set the repeating alarm to cease when a certain battery life threshold is reached.
The Today screen plug-in has been greatly enhanced, allowing users to create custom shortcuts, shortcuts to documents, and shortcuts to control panel settings for rapid access to system properties. Storage cards can be monitored, and opened in File Explorer with a simple click. The memory panels can independently show capacity in both MB values and percentage values.
The 'X' function now supports a 'Close all Inactive' for rapid reclamation of system resources from un-used applications.
A customizable list of programs that should be minimized instead of closed can be created and updated depending on user needs.
The functionality provided by Spb Pocket Plus should have been built directly into the Pocket PC operating system. Until that happens this product is a must have for every Pocket PC System. Flawless installation, easy configurability and essential functionality, it gets our "Top Gun" Award with a 4 out of 4.
A free 15-day trial version of Spb Pocket Plus is available for download from PocketGear.com. Upgrading to a registered version is only US$9.95.