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The Today screen is the heart of Windows Mobile. It’s where you want all your critical information to be so you can see it at a glance The Today Plug-in marketplace has got to be about the most crowded of any Windows Mobile software niche So it’s rare when a plug-in truly stands out as something that gives you what you need in a unique and powerful way That’s part of why I’m such a big fan of SBSH PocketBreeze I’ve been a PocketBreeze user for a while now and I’ve recently been testing their new version It’s a great way to see your calendar, tasks, important upcoming events, notes, messages and more, in full detail and right on your Today Screen.

PocketBreeze displays information from your calendar, tasks, inbox, notes and a bit from your contacts and presents it in a way much different from the default Windows Mobile Today screen. There are tabs at the top or side of the PocketBreeze pane that display your schedule, tasks, upcoming special events, notes and messages This allows for a lot of information to be displayed in a small area PocketBreeze shows you much more about your calendar, tasks and messages than the stock Today Plug-ins too

The Calendar

This view is the heart of PocketBreeze It shows each day for the coming week (or a user defined length of time) complete with appointments and the tasks that are due that day This view, although busy, just makes sense to me Why not see the things I have to accomplish today as well as the meetings I have scheduled? Seeing tasks right on the Today screen makes it very easy to see if I’ve got certain days overbooked or not At the top of each day is a small graph of your time that helps you see what appointments you have Tap it to enlarge it and get a better view You can also add appointments to your day from this graph view

Each appointment shows up with a colored bar next to it denoting that the time is free, occupied or conflicts another appointment The appointment’s time and location are also visible next to its subject You can also tell PocketBreeze you’d like to see certain icons next to your appointments to denote reminders, repeating tasks, etc

Tasks in calendar view have their subject displayed along with a completion check box The user can configure whether the task is deleted after it’s completed or not A calendar in the upper left hand corner allows the user to display a different day’s agenda A button in the top center lets you filter the appointments and tasks by category Because most of us have enough meetings and tasks each day to fill the screen, there’s a small scroll bar on the right (or left if you configure it) to allow you to scroll down through the whole week.

Tasks and Upcoming Events

The Tasks tab allows the user to see tasks due today and upcoming tasks grouped and sorted by about any method you could dream up This includes, by priority, due date, alphabetical and so on You can collapse and expand groups and check off tasks right from your Today screen

The Upcoming Events tab is unique It pulls all the birthdays and anniversaries out of your contact database and displays them For example, one entry on this tab told me that my own wedding anniversary is coming up in 75 days This tab would be more useful if I were more diligent in entering my contact’s birthdays and anniversaries If you’ve got that data in your contacts, this will save many a forgotten important day!

Notes and Messages

The Notes tab allows users to manage all their written and voice notes right from the Today screen You can create new notes as well as apply templates and modify many properties on each not Got lots of notes? You can filter them in this view to make it easier to track down the note you need.

The Messages give the user a view of their inbox You can see all your emails, SMS and MMS messages from this tab Tap on an item and get a preview of the message From the context menu you can also create new messages all without leaving your Today screen.

Under the Hood in 5.1:

The folks at SBSH Mobile Software have made PocketBreeze amazingly flexible Don’t like what happens when you tap an appointment? Open Settings and change it to something you like more You can do this for tap, double tap and tap and hold All of the colors and fonts are customizable You can configure how tall the plug-in is in both portrait and landscape modes You can set sounds effects, tooltips, categories and skins You can even create additional tabs based on your own criteria from the data in your Windows Mobile device

When I first reviewed PocketBreeze, I commented on how complex the Settings dialog was There were so many things in there it seemed hard to get around The folks at SBSH have addressed my concern and done their best to improve the user friendliness of Settings while not taking away and of PocketBreeze’s powerful options.

Also vastly improved in PocketBreeze 5.1 is the actual rendering of the plug-in The SBSH team have completely redone the rendering engine inside this product The result is faster painting when the Today screen comes up and faster switching between portrait and landscape modes Older versions of PocketBreeze performed okay, but version 5.1 really is quick You won’t notice any lag after calling up the Today screen or flipping over to landscape while Today is visible.

And yes, PocketBreeze 5.1 is fully compatible with Windows Mobile 5 and all the various screen resolutions found on popular devices This means you square screen folks get full support.

Conclusion:

PocketBreeze is a great way to see more and do more right on your Today screen It’s flexible, informative, good looking and speedy It’s also compatible with Pocket Informant, Agenda Fusion and custom personal information manager databases, in addition to the default Windows PIM apps If you want the full details of your calendar, tasks, upcoming events, notes and your inbox all on your Today screen, don’t miss PocketBreeze.

Final Grade: A

Pros: Organized and accessible view of your tasks and appointments Highly customizable Snappy and stable Supports new screen orientations and resolutions well.

Cons: None

PocketBreeze 5.1 is available directly from www.sbsh.net and from most other Windows Mobile software resellers Also worth mentioning is ContactBreeze It’s plug-in that integrates all your contacts with PocketBreeze.

Written by Nate