We all love eye candy, but when combined with practical functionality, it truly becomes a thing of beauty. That’s exactly what mobile developers SPB Software have accomplished with their new shell replacement app, SPB Shell 3D.

SPB Shell 3D is a homescreen replacement that brings 3D modeling like we have never seen before. You don’t have to take my word for it, though, just take a look:

Impressive, right? I’m sure that it takes pretty modern hardware to back something that visually appealing, but if you’ve got the power, why not flaunt it?

ss-2-320-480-160-0-ff9363567f7942c1e9065409455f35e1383250f3 ss-6-320-480-160-0-7ebe182481317e37d544e3363c726e8d9a1205d0 ss-4-320-480-160-0-5afdb994e6699cd325a580d5abeba55350493ad8

There are a couple of downsides, however – it’s not available for tablets (yet) and it will set you back $15. You can get it from the Android Market od Appbrain by following one of these links:

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Larry

    Oh, wait, they're serious! Let me laugh even harder....[insert joker picture here]

  • Gunther

    $14.99 for a homescreen replacement? I'd rather use MotoBlur.

    • Cameron Summerson

      I had a feeling that would be the overall reaction.

      • Tyler

        Im guessing they will lower the price after they nab the first time buyers. I still think 14.99 is to much.

  • Rob

    Had a go of it for about 5 minutes. It's very nifty and I'd consider buying it.. if it wasn't for the hefty pricetag.

    There's not a chance in hell I'll pay $15 for launcher replacement.

  • wiggey1337

    how much?! :O thats shocking pricing!

  • Ken

    It looks pretty fancy, but $15 without even a trial version? Nah.

  • Topgun

    15$??? are these guys on crack? I hope they realize that most android users are NOT going to blow 15 bucks for a home screen. It looks cool but not that cool

  • slabix

    I can't believe no one has mentioned that $15 for a homescreen alternative is completely cost prohibitive.

    Oh wait . . .EVERYBODY has. . .it must mean something.

    Honestly, this price with no trial is insanity.

  • Christo


    ...oh, never mind.

  • several

    LOL!!! These guys have clearly been developing for Windows Mobile for far too long and haven't bothered to learn jack shit about the Android Market.

    Any bets on how long it will take them to realize $15 is a price that most people won't pay? I'll bet 6 weeks.

  • derk p

    i had their home screen on my old treo... i loved it!! but this is too much $$$.

  • Eric

    And how much battery does this take?

    • Cameron Summerson

      Another viable question. My guess is.. a lot.

  • Duffin

    Like everyone else, I agree that $15 is just a killer for me. I love trying out new homescreen replacements and stuff, and this looks like it might be one of the best so far, but, come on. Nobody is paying 15 dollars for a homescreen replacement. I might consider $3, but that's about as high as I'm going.

  • mar

    Yes, everybody sure started complaining about the price :) yea! "home screen replacement app for the price as for a crappy pizza?? no way!! are they kidding us??? - we can live for a month on this money!!".

    This is sad that so few can appreciate the good work, and everybody likes 'free stuff'.

    • Duffin

      Are you one of the developers for this app or something? No one said anything about wanting it for free and, in fact, many said it looked great, so I don't see how people didn't "appreciate the good work", but let's get real. It's still just a home screen replacement app. I paid $30 for Documents to Go because it was literally the only app that let me open Office files on my phone. If this were the only homescreen replacement in the market, I might consider it for this price. But, since there are many that are just slightly less comparable, the price is not warranted.

      • mar

        I'm far from being their developer :) Only I always try to think not how much other apps cost, but also compare what they provide. In this case - this app clearly sets some standard, and it is much more than just a home screen replacement (if you will investigate it more). And I'm not shy to pay for a good app that I will use everyday the same money that I'm ready to pay for a lunch.

        • Umgeleitet

          For the money, one would expect a great app and good customer service. This one lacks either, all the while, eating up all of your RAM. 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.

    • Gunther

      We appreciate the work, but just think the price is too hefty, especially when there are plenty of free and paid, but cheaper ($3 the most expensive), alternatives out there. This is almost as if someone came out with a really nice looking live wallpaper wallpaper and decided to charge $8 for it.

  • Namuna

    ADW Launcher is Open Source (aka FREE) and LauncherPro is FREE (Plus is $3).

    It seems SPB didn't do their homework on competitive pricing. Or, if their Dev overhead for creating such an advanced 3D shell forces them to charge such high costs to recoup?...Then it'll be an interesting test to see just how much folks are willing to pay for an advanced 3D Shell.

  • L boogie

    Consider dropping the price a bit and I would purchase it for my phone and eventually for my tablet because the best of the homescreen apps are either free or no more than $3....btw, it is awesome

  • Dennis

    That is sort of pricey. Wonder how it works on a tablet?

    • Cameron Summerson

      It doesn't have tablet support yet.

  • Shane

    Ill buy it :-) its only money, and its good eye candy.. spent more than that on some crap movies, and will enjoy this more.

    I also bought everything spb made back in the win mobile days, so im a fan.

  • Mauaus

    Doesnt work on my G2 with CM 7 RC3... left me in a bootloop :S

  • GetReal!

    Launcher (though it's not just a dumb launcher at all - has a ton of cool features!) is great, but $15... Guys from marketing, this price was set for sure to pay off your summer vacations and new set of tires for Lada Kalina.... Don't ruin it for developers, they worked hard. Just curb your ambitions and start selling it for $4.99 and you'll get total sales better than you were pitching for on a launch meeting...

    I personally know people from SPB - they are talented and super-skilled, and always try to innovate. I'm just can't wait for their HoneyComb launcher to try!

  • MDoubleA

    I bought their home screen replacement for WinMo 6.1 back in the day and I remember that cost me about $20-$25...but it was well worth it since WinMo's interface was so crappy. I don't think I'll be buying this unless they either offer a free trial and I can test drive it or they lower the price to $5 or less. SPB needs to realize Android isn't Windows Mobile 6 and people aren't willing to pay that much when there are so many awesome launchers/home screens out there that are free or under $5. What happens when I buy this thing and then I decide I like .ADW better? I'm out $15? Fuck that.

    • Coldman

      $5-6 would have been the sweet spot, anything higher is definitely not going to penetrate the market, especially for something that has the potential to be quite laggy. Oh well, without a trial version, I won't know.

  • Josh H.

    I would be willing to pay $15 no problem but only if they let me try it out first. A 1 hour trial would be more then enough. I give it a week before they either lower the price or offer a trail version.

    • Hirudin

      Me too. I'd happily fork over $15 for a really good launcher but not if I don't get to try it first. I'm also not willing to buy it with the intention of returning it if I don't like it - 15 minutes is just too damn brief.

      I hope they release a trial and/or lower the price considerably.

  • rmc

    $15 sheesh.. I'll wait for it to be a "featured app" on Amazon!! lmao

  • PWRuser

    Steep pricing. I had the 3.5 on winmo 6.5, and while it was a huge improvement over stock winmo it was still a tad to expensive.

    Considering how Android is not a crippled OS like winmo 6.5 and that there are already several very well established alternatives like ADW & Launcher Pro , I have a hard time believing this will generate sales.

  • jaulillas

    with winmo 5.5 that was exelet but in2011 with adw or cyanogen even gingerbread its "diricule" 15 dlrs.

  • Doug

    Yeah, they must be on crack. Way too expensive.
    I used to like Spb's stuff, until I asked them if they'd be making an Android version of Spb Wallet, and they basically told me to F off. Glad there are many alternatives to Spb products for Android (like Iliumsoft's eWallet). :-)

  • Misteral

    Like some others here, I used to have SPB Mobile shell on my Win Mo setup. It is basically necessary for Win Mo - not only does it provide a great homescreen replacement, it takes over another couple of levels of the phone interface. It could be compared to HTC's Sense UI, offering vastly improved usability and customisation options.

    The real problem with an Android Mobile Shell is less to do with the price (in my opinion) and more to do with a lack of necessity. The stock Android UI is actually very good (in fact, quite similar to Mobile Shell without the 3D aspects). Those of us who add homescreen replacements tend to do it more for functionality rather than pure eye candy. Eye candy is great and all, but if it is not backed up by an IMPROVED experience (usability wise) I don't think there will be much demand for it.

    I do agree though that if they brought the price down to $4 they would actually make more money by shifting more units. They make top quality products and I hope they are able to adjust to the Android user market.

    • ari-free

      Lots of people want eye candy. Stardock WindowBlinds is pure eye candy and it's $20, not $15.

      • Eric

        It's also in a market where games cost $20+ (and I mean very +), office suites (decent ones) cost $60, and all sorts of other examples.

  • Eric

    Seems like someone didn't study economics in school. I'd be willing to bet that for every person who pays $15 for this app, 10 would be willing to pay $3. Guess which price you make more money with :p

    I'd buy if for $5 max personally.

    • ari-free

      And they will have to deal 10 people's support issues and problems. Sometimes you don't want more marketshare.
      I'm glad that Mercedes isn't churning out all kinds of cheap cars to compete with Toyota Camrys. We need to see more quality on android even if not everyone wants it.

      • Eric

        Deal 10 peoples support issues. I'm not sure what you mean by that? DO you mean deal with 10 peoples support issues? That would happen either way, 10 is a miniscule number. How many support issues do you think Anderweb or Federico have dealt with?

        As for not wanting more marketshare, maybe, but you still want to maximize your money for your investment. Again, economics 101.

        Mercedes is priced where they can get the most money for the investment. They add high end features and release it at a price that the market is WILLING to pay. There is a market for a car that price. The market for an app that price is small. The market for an app that price that supports a similar role to many others (I even found a few things that were missing in my trial) that are 80% cheaper? The market is not there I don't think.

        Let's say you are a developer. You just spent 8 months working on an insanely good product. Time to sell. Each copy of the app does not cost you any more to sell, so quantity of sales does not cut into your profits. Do you want to sell at $3 dollars and have 10 people buy, $5 and have 8 people buy, or $15 and have 1 person buy? I would be amazed if even that math wasn't conservative. In the end, you want the greatest return on the time invested. It doesn't matter if you sell it at $15 if you make half the net profit you would if you sold it for $3, or 30% of the profit if you had sold it for $5. In this case, $15 is not the price to find the max profit, as these comments indicate. Not to mention android enthusiasts tend to be the ones willing to shell out more than non-enthusiasts.

        • Hirudin

          Although I agree that a lower price will generate more sales you're missing [b]ari-free[/b]'s point. What he/she is saying is that more sales will translate into more support issues.

          To say it another way: [b]ari-free[/b] is saying there would be 10 *times* more sales if it was sold at $3 instead of $15. It stands to reason that having 10 *times* the customer base will equate to 10 *times* the support calls.

          All that being said, I also personally think a lower price would be beneficial to the developer. More users would also potentially open more avenues for support (forums and whatnot).

        • Eric

          Hirudin Below this:

          That statement would be good if it worked that way.

          Lets say there is a total of 100 bugs. If you have 500 users, you may find 70 bugs. If you have 5000 users, you don't find 700 bugs. You might find 90 bugs.

          Even if you get 10x the bug reports per bug found, that doesn't necessarily increase the amount of work to do.

  • Carlos

    Hmm...I'd spend 7 or 8. The theatrics and unique widgets seem worth that, assuming they work smoothly. I've squandered more on pointless crap that's less entertaining than this...that's right I'm looking at you lava lamp in the corner...

  • H.D

    Will it use the 3D display on the "LG Optimus 3D"?

  • Tzl

    15 bucks for 3d home? Gameloft sold me full featured 3d games for 99 euro cents. I love eye candy (I'm a hard user of compiz on gnome on my desktop, killer eye candy on desktop, incl. Desktop cube) but this product is so heavyly overpriced. Would be considering this app for 3-5 bucks, not more. Remember, comparison is like modern combat 2 for 99 cents.

  • Christian

    Ok, if everyone has made their point here I come with some real feedback:
    (I'm a die hard LauncherPro-fan so that is what I compare to and I only take up what I feel hasn't been covered, I tried since LP keeps crashing for me)

    1. SPBS3D's light- and birthday-widgets, looks good, suits my needs.
    2. The optional resize of some widgets looks great, but would like to be able to resize 3rd party apps (compare LP)
    3. It is _really_ smooth (HTC Desire/NoRoot)

    1. Everything is auto-sorted á iPhone and that makes all layouts ugly. Solution would be for a "transparent white-space" to be added.
    2. All icons are default, also making this a ugly rainbow.
    3. No folders in quick-launch (I generally feel the quick-launch is too limited), I don't have to have LP's trayslider, but any built in quicklaunch. (Given this some thought, I do think LPs slider is great...)
    4. SPBS3D's own widgets (2 exceptions) looks ok, but there are way better options on market in all areas.
    5. There is no "options", where can I give feedback, change transitions, nr of columns/rows, dock options, backup settings, reset default.
    6. The 3D-spin with different colours on screen works, but I don't know, maybe it would be more fun with optional seperate backgrounds for different screens. Can't place my finger on it though.

    • Hirudin

      Thanks a bunch for your review! I'm using ADW right now and I can't imagine anything being much better, though I haven't even tried LauncherPro yet.

      The main benefit I'm getting from ADW over the stock launcher is the ability to remove the labels and increase the number of icons on each home screen (I have 30 icons per screen and 5 more on the quick bar). I also like the transition effects that are in the pay version of ADW.

      The fact that everything is auto-sorted is a deal ender for me.

      • Aeires

        ADW is my go to launcher as well, and after trying out LauncherPro, it seemed like ADW with more of a social networking widget feel to it. ADW is more of a stripped down, cleaner version, imo.

        Check out Crazy Home and LiveHome, both are really good and have some slick options. People that have iPhones, I blow their minds with LiveHome when the screen scroll goes to the next screen like turning the page of a book. Coolest transition effect I've ever seen.

    • Aeires

      I love everything about this launcher except the placement of the icons. I tend to have my icons bottom weighted, and it drives me nuts that it upper left justifies them without option to change it. I would also like to mix some of the screens, like adding the super slick clocks to an open area of another screen.

      Other than that, good assessment. I was impressed with the speed of the launcher, up until you start maximizing the screen count. The weather screen is beautiful, and the pic of the day is really a nice option. If you love widgets, this launcher is for you.

  • Lorenzo in a Benzo

    I just downloaded this and it is completely awesome!! By far the best launcher I have used! I did not pay for it yet because $15 is crazy but I would easily pay $7 for it. Once they drop the price I will drop the warez version I am running and pay for it.

    • Hirudin

      Stealing is wrong. Talking about stealing is stupid.

  • Christian


    What makes me pick a winner is either SPBS3D improves its "iPhony"-uglyness (adds customization) and flexible quicklaunch, or LauncherPro releases a good rewrite (as smooth as this).

    Final thought: My screens are for information/work/widgets or beauty, having easy access to most relevant apps for doing the previous should not clutter my phone.

  • Phil

    Quote: Those of us who add homescreen replacements tend to do it more for functionality rather than pure eye candy. Eye candy is great and all, but if it is not backed up by an IMPROVED experience (usability wise) I don’t think there will be much demand for it.

    This is exactly what I was expecting. Eye candy on a slow lagging launcher. Imagine my surprise when S3D ran MUCH faster with 0 lag then the other launchers I tried (LP+, ADW, Zeam). I would use this over the other based off the insane loading speed. The eye candy is just a plus. It is missing some key features (I sent them a detailed list), but knowing SPB from the WinMo days - it'll be coming.

    The $ bothers me, in that in the WinMo days, everyone used it (cause WinMo launcher blew chunks) - and with everyone using it there were a ton of mods for it.

    Wondering if there will be similar mod attemps to just this launcher.

    OH - and as to nobody willing to pay $15 for this? Guess my name is nobody then.

  • MushroomStamp

    I agree, without customization a launcher is dead to me. I want to control turning Icon Labels Off, Setting the array size to 5x5 instead of stock 4x4, change icons from default, and place things in the quick launch bar.

    This does none of that and thus useless.

    • Hirudin

      I completely agree about the labels, grid size, and quick launch bar.

  • http://Www.ahlin.se Christian

    You can change most quicklaunch icons, but it's 1-to-1, and removing phone, sms and browser is not an option for me so I consider it false customization, but doable...

  • Asphyx

    I wasn't all that big a fan of their WinMo offerring So I won't be plunking down the $15 bucks especially because they rarely update their stuff and usually make a whole new version you have to pay for again and again.

    Look great but sorry I don't really need all that and I can't imagine what it will do to my battery life!

  • DreWskee

    I installed this and it does not consume battery life at all on my Evo. I didnt even charge it last night and i woke up with 60% battery life when at 5PM yesterday i was reading 72%. Decent modifications and No LAG at all! This thing runs smooth as butter. Its a must get but the price is a must drop. Two thumbs up!!!

  • Zombeezy

    For a non-rooted VM Optimus V, it was worth it for the smoothness, and the nice widgets. After a day or so, the 3D "wowness!" takes backseat to smoothness and you don't look at the revolving globe or need the weather screen when the widget works well. Been happy with it on Optimus for a couple of months, so when I picked up a VM Samsung Intercept to play with, thought I'd see if I gained the same smoothness without a rooting. Nope - SPB 3D Shell is not usable at all on it - screen looks like crap and text smeared and blurry. Time to root Intercept to make it better.

    • Bob Jones

      @Zombeezy Did you figure out how to get SPB 3D Shell to work on the Intercept? I have the same problem; the text, icons, widgets are all blurred and unreadable.

  • Zombeezy

    No I didn't. The developer emailed to ask for screenshots which I just did sidebyside with my Optimus V. Even rooting with Joeseph Mother's VM Intercept Ultimate Kernel Package v3 and making the Intercept a faster and smoother phone, the SPB 3D Shell app doesn't work on Intercept. If I hear back from the developer on a solution for this app, will update this post.

    • Bob Jones

      It might have something to do with the intercept's weird resolution?