Sharp End: Tocco Ultra, SL3 cracks


SPB Mobile Shell – update

A few weeks back I commented on SPB Software’s Mobile Shell 2 interface for Windows Mobile devices. Mobile Shell is a software interface that sits on top of clunky Windows Mobile software and enablers users to access phone functions without having to dig out the stylus.

Mobile Shell by SPB Software has now been updated. Version 3 is now available, and it is brilliant. Mobile Shell 3 brings a level of user interactivity and customisation never seen before on Windows Mobile devices (or any other device for that matter).

It comes with Facebook integration to update your profile. It also comes with ‘Mobile Carousel’ that gives amazingly fluid scrolling/rolling of various screens of information, subject to the device running the software. I loaded Mobile Shell 3 onto an HTC Touch HD. The built-in hardware acceleration meant the effects were stunning; very fluid without the pauses you’d normally get with such a powerful programme.

With various widgets and themes, the customisation is extreme and third party developers and hobbyists will no doubt be adding many more over the coming weeks.

With the availability of Mobile Shell 3 and the release of the long awaited Windows Mobile 6.5 on May 10, there are some exciting times ahead for those that truly want personalisation/customisation of their mobile device.

Samsung Tocco Ultra

I got to see the new Samsung Tocco Ultra (pictured) for the first time recently and was pretty impressed. The unit was slimmer than I had anticipated for a slider phone – normally slide keypads mean a thick wedge of handset.

This was a nice surprise. The AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) display has to be seen to fully appreciate the picture quality in terms of both resolution and non-reflectiveness. The AMOLED screen offers better resolution with much lower power consumption.

Another very welcome side effect of this new technology screen is it is very robust. Normally when you press on an LCD screen you get ‘screen bleed’ but this does not happen with AMOLED technology. The demonstration I was given included a pretty good thumping of the screen. Strong high-resolution screens are also rare, especially for Samsung.

The only real drawback is the little extra we make repairing Samsung screens could well decline. Oh well, that’s progress!

New Nokia SL3 unlocks

Last issue I wrote about my Universal Box unlocker killing a Nokia 6500 and corrupting the IMEI. It turns out there is a new software version floating around on a few Nokias now that has been dubbed the SL3.

These new SL3 models can be identified by their unusually high Software Version number when doing *#0000#. Take the Nokia 6300, for example. Normally the latest software version for these phones is version 7.2.

If you get a Nokia 6300 with software version 59.2, for example, then it is an indication of it being a new SL3 model. Attempting to unlock these will result in a dead phone with a corrupt IMEI. You will be unable to repair the phone using normal Repair RPL methods. This is Nokia’s response to the unlocking solutions for its BB5 range.

It appears there is currently only one solution currently available in the market place to recover SL3 phones or SL2 phones that have had a bad unlock for whatever reason. This repair costs a hefty £25 so beware when trying to unlock customers’ phones and ensure you check the software versions first.

Currently, SL3 Nokias cannot be unlocked.

Cold calls

A good sign times are hard is the number of cold calls you receive. In today’s market, the number of cold calls I get is driving me mad. I understand people have to make a living. But it is hugely annoying that all my numbers – work, home and mobile – are listed with the Telephone Preference Service so I should not receive any cold call.

That is not the case. Last Friday, for example, I received 29 calls on my office number that were not to do with my business.

I have found one solution is my desperate attempts to find some way to reduce/stop unwanted calls. For anyone suffering the same sort of problems then Google “TrueCall”. This solution seems ideal and can be programmed for many different scenarios.

You can even set it up to completely ignore certain types of calls – for example 08 numbers. Unfortunately, it does not work with business lines.