Must Have Windows Mobile Software

In Part One of this series, we covered How To: Install, Uninstall, and Transfer Files on Windows Mobile. Now that you're an expert on installing, let's take a good look at the What... what software do you want to install and where to find it. Because there is so much WM software out there to choose from, it can be a VERY expensive adventure, trying to figure out which programs you really want or need.

In this part of the the Windows Mobile Guide, I will focus on what are the must have software apps I recommend everyone should have, software apps I would suggest getting, and where to get them all. I will even show you where to get tons of software for free...legally!

Every WM phone comes with the basics that you will need right out of the box. You could, for the most part, get by without buying anything extra. But there are some really cool ad-ons that can make your phone more user friendly, more entertaining, and personalized for your specific personal or professional needs and wants. Sometimes it is just because the software that came with the phone is simply too basic and you really want/need those extra features and tools.

I am actually asked fairly often what is the first thing they should buy for their phone, and here is what I tell them (click on their names to see more details of any of the following programs):


  • Resco Explorer 2007 for Pocket PC: (opens in new tab) This is what the original WM File Explore should be. It gives you full control of finding, viewing, and managing all of the files on your phone and memory card. It is easy to use and loaded with options and features.

  • Spb Mobile Shell (opens in new tab): I personally recommend only three Today Screen plugins to everyone. This is one of them. It offers quick photo speed dialing with one finger tap on a picture of the person you want to call. It gives you quick access to your favorite and most used programs. You will always have the latest Weather at the tip of your fingers with the weather program of your choice. It is organized in tabs that help to make sure that you do not accidentally launch a program or call someone when the phone is in its case or in your pocket. It also offers one of the easiest ways to find a contact and call them with the included Spb Contacts.

  • Spb Phone Suite (opens in new tab): This handy little plugin allows you to view how many calls you have missed, plus how many Voicemails, Emails, SMS, and MMS you have not read. This also includes a call filter so you don't have to worry about getting calls from those you put on your blacklist, and it gives you an option to send a text message to someone if you cannot answer their call right then. It includes phone profiles, so by a tap of your finger you can silence everything on your phone when you enter a meeting at work, or make sure that everything is as loud as it can be if you are in the car. These profiles can be scheduled ahead of time to make sure you don't forget to set it. It also offers a photo speed dial.

  • PocketBreeze / ContactBreeze: (opens in new tab) This dual is the third Today Screen plugin that I personally recommend to anyone. It makes it a snap to review your calendar, look up contacts, and read your email... all without opening up any PIM or email client. It saves you time and it saves you loads of memory so you do not have to have a calendar and email client running in the background at all times.

  • Sprite Backup (opens in new tab) or SPB Backup (opens in new tab): This is absolutely the single, no questions asked, MUST HAVE! There is nothing more frustrating (or heartbreaking) than when you just got your phone all set up just like you want it... you have all your contacts entered... all your games installed...all the Registry Tweaks are just the way you want them... and then... tragedy strikes and for whatever reason you are forced to do a hard reset on your phone wiping out all your changes and bringing the phone back to the same state as if you just opened the box for the first time. Either Backup program will work fine. It is often times more of a personal preference vs features. I personally use Sprite Backup. Keep an eye out in the future for a Smackdown review between these two backup solutions here at WMExperts.

    SPB Backup:

    Sprite Backup:

Working It All Together: Now how does all work together? Here are some of screen shots of my Today Screen:

Here are some recommended programs that are certainly not must haves, but I find very nice to have and I use all of the time:

  • Splash ID (opens in new tab): This is a great utility for keeping track of all your account information securely on your phone and on your PC, with its desktop companion utility, which makes it very easy to enter in all your data and then sync it with your phone. You will never be without medical insurance numbers, frequent flyer account numbers, credit card numbers, etc... plus you will always have all the contact phone numbers for every account you put in there. So if your wallet is stolen, you can instantly call your bank, your credit card companies, still be able to call your insurance companies, etc., as you are able to record complete information about any account you have from the YMCA to your unlimited limit American Express Platinum Card.

  • PocketMusic Player for Pocket PC (opens in new tab): There are loads of MP3 players available... and a lot of the benefits between them comes down to simply personal preference. I have used this one and loved it because it is easy to use, nice interface, skinable, and it has the nice small touches, like when you manually skip to the next song, it fades out the current one first.

  • Weather: I find it very handy to have updated access to the latest weather reports. There are a lot of weather programs out there with some offering more features than others. I'll recommend just one: SBP Weather -- This works great with the SBP Mobile Shell

  • Games: This is totally a personal preference. It is worth buying one or two games for those times you are waiting in the doctor's waiting room, your plane is delayed, etc. Here are few of my personal favorites:

    • Warfare Incorporated (opens in new tab) -- This has gratefully wasted hours at a time while stuck at airports waiting for my delayed flights.

    • SPB Arkball II (opens in new tab) -- This is a very nicely done remake of the classic Arkanoid game.

      To be more exact, SPB Arkball II is actually a mini-game from
      SPB AirIslands . The object of the game is to help rebuild a world that has been all but destroyed. In order to do this, you have to have resources. As you build your village they will produce resources you can use. You have to maintain a balance of productivity, happiness, pollution, etc.. in order to be successful. The other way to earn resources is to play Minigames. The other two minigames are called Spb Bubbles and Spb Xonix II:

    • Handmark Monopoly for Pocket PC (opens in new tab) -- The classic board game with the option to use nearly all the house rules you played as a kid.

    • SPB Brain Evolution (opens in new tab) -- Do you think you are smart? Then prove it while getting a little smarter doing it. It is very addictive.

    • Resco Sudoku (opens in new tab) -- I am totally addicted to this game.

HELPFUL TIP: I also recommend saving all of your purchased WM applications and Freeware apps you like on a data CD or DVD just in case your hard drive crashes. This way you don't have to go hunting all over the net to get another copy of everything and try to remember where you bought or downloaded each app. When you do this, also take the extra second now to save the Serial number for your program in a text file along with the program, or you will have go hunting anyway. I recommend doing all of this, as you will be surprised at a how fast you can collect so much.


Now that we have the first must have software purchases out of the way, and now that you are a pro at installing any application or game you want to, let's look at some resources on the internet where you can start to explore all of the software that is really out there for you. There are usually a couple different type of sites that include those who are basically a software warehouse (or resellers) with just about anything you could want. There are sites that offer only free software... and then there are the websites for specific companies that may offer a large line of their products.

Software Warehouse Sites:

Free Software Sites:

Popular Company Sites:

  • (opens in new tab) -- Today Plugins / Utilities / Apps / Multimedia
  • -- Games
  • -- Utilities / Games
  • (opens in new tab) -- PIM / Email Client
  • (opens in new tab) -- Today Plugins
  • -- GPS / Utilities / Multimedia
  • -- Games

HELPFUL TIP: With most products nowadays, you can shop around to find the best deal (heck I even play one company against the other and often times get an even lower price), but this is usually not the case with WM software. You may find a short lived special somewhere, but generally speaking, no matter where you go, it will be the same price. This then just leaves you with who to buy it from. Look at their customer service, return policy, and availability to redownload if you have lost your original copy due to a hard drive melt down.


This series of the Window Mobile Guide is just getting started. Keep an eye out for later additions to the series that will include how to stream TV and music to your handheld, tweak the registry with a register editor, how to organize your program menus, how to make your WM device more one handed friendly, and lots more...

WC Staff
  • Great article, Hobbes. My first installs are all on your list:
    Resco 2007, SPB Shell, Sprite Backup.
  • What is the difference between SPB Diary and PocketBreeze / ContactBreeze?
  • They are very the point that I think it is a matter of personal preference rather than a decision of superior features. They both offer their pros and cons when compared in a smackdown style. But truthfully if you are happy with one or the other you will be doing good and not missing much by not using the other.
    I personally use ContactBreeze/ContactBreeze probably because I have been using it since before SPB Diary was ever available. I also liked the big screen option it offers for easy one handed finding of contacts. But with the new SBP contacts that comes with SPB Shell (which is what I have assigned to one of my soft buttons), that becomes kind of a dead point.
  • Movin on up huh Hobbes? Great article and nice to see they added you on!
  • A great free game I found for my PocketPC (don't have a WM phone) is Pocket UFO. It's a free port of the old PC game XCOM. It looks like a very well done conversion. It is from a group of Russian developers. Downloads are here:
  • I've got one I NEED to find?
    I need a Windows Mobile version of the old Treo Callfilter software.
    Specifically, I KNOW there are a lot of Call Filter apps out there, but NONE of them seem to offer the one feature this did. That is, being able to block a number from making your phone ring, or going to voicemail, or even showing that the number had ever even called you. Anyone know where something like that is???? IF something like that IS?????
  • Hey Doom! SPB Phone Suite comes close. You can add numbers, contacts, etc... to your black list and then set Phone Suite to answer all calls except those on your blacklist. When a blacklisted number calls, you phone will not ring. But it will be included in your call history (which I think would be a benefit for a lot situations), and the blacklisted person can still leave a VM.
  • Thanks! Unfortunately the "no VM" thing is the deal breaker! I can't believe this can be done on POS and not WinMo?
  • The voicemail issue sounds like the other programs merely ignore the call.
    In order to abort the voicemail, the phone has to answer the call (silently in the background) -- then hang up immediately.
    Disabling voicemail for blocked numbers would otherwise have to happen at the cell-provider's system end of things (and while I'm sure they have the capability, I suspect they'll charge a pretty penny for the privilege).
    Problem case might be a call from a blocked party coming in while you're on another call; would need to make sure that it dropped the correct call.
    Shouldn't be too difficult to implement for someone who knows what they're doing (that, of course, would NOT be me.)
  • Great article Hobbes! I personally use many of the choices you selected. However, I choose Pocket Plus over Mobile Shell.
    I have a question about Phone Suite. When the device receives a voicemail, SMS, or email, does the default system message still activate itself or does Phone Suite override that functionality? I think I recall reading somewhere that the default messagebox still gets displayed. Having that prompt still displayed kind of defeats the purpose of having the phone suite. Can you verify this?
  • What is showing the weather and traffic?
  • It is Marsware Weather Panel. IMHO, it is by far one of the best weather apps every created for WM. But sadly the author of the program totally disappeared several years ago. So there is no longer any official updates or support. But as a testament to it's superiority many have taken up the roll to keep it alive and well.
  • While on the topic of weather panel. Mine stopped recieving weather updates. I did not change anything. Anyone else experiencing it?
    I agree, up until now it was the best weather applet.
  • ok. got it to run. I had some slowing problems when WP was connecting and trying to get the data so I disabled the connection. It looks like it is connecting but it wasn't.
    All good now.
  • I've got one I NEED to find?
    I need a Windows Mobile version of the old Treo Callfilter software.
    Specifically, I KNOW there are a lot of Call Filter apps out there, but NONE of them seem to offer the one feature this did. That is, being able to block a number from making your phone ring, or going to voicemail, or even showing that the number had ever even called you. Anyone know where something like that is???? IF something like that IS?????
  • That looks like a handy way to get rid of a stalker ex-girlfriend without getting a restraining order. lol
  • So Hobbes, is there an updated list of reccomendations for the new WM 6.1 pro?
    MS might have changed/ added stuff and moving from POS to it, I am wondering what I will be needing.
  • That is a great article. I have a question.
    Do you have an UPDATED list of programs you recommend. My phone (the htc Fuze) has a few of those preloaded on it. You wrote that article in October of 07, or more then a year ago, so I was looking for your guidance and updates. Thanks!
  • Great review Hobbes. I took your advice and loaded Mobile Shell, and PocketBreeze. Both are totally awesome. Sprite or Spb backup will probably be my next two downloads.
  • Great article. I'm downloading the Splash ID app you mentioned, I really needed something like that. I think my parents would like it as well.
    But what happens if you phone gets stolen, is the data encrypted with a password?
    I didn't see this app on your list but I really like Pocket Express.
  • I recommend one software for alternate
    SMS Transfer for backup and manager sms use
  • Pocket GPS TripHelper Auto-SOS-Dialer 2.0 Automatic Sending SMS(with position) & Call if you suffer car accident. Saf & brak distance. Car searching, routes, graphs, dialer, speed limit,compass,Bt
  • I think this list should be extended with one more great application for windows mobile phones, namely: Mobile Online TVx (version 2.1.2) Complete professional edition
    More than 800 TV channels
    Best alternative to cable/satellite television
    Automatic Program and Channel Update
    G-sensor support
    other features download link:
  • Here's another app to consider - WM Real World Outlook Backup backs up or restores your Outlook contacts, appointments, and tasks to an XML file on your device with one click. For more info and demo, please see