SPB Mobile Shell Wallpaper Fix

If you don’t use a Windows Mobile phone and SPB Shell, you can pretty much skip this post.

SPB Mobile Shell is just this awesome shell for Windows Mobile. It’s available for other platforms, but I use WinMo, so don’t confuse me. The one feature, however, that was driving me bonkers, was the wallpaper option. Regardless of what resolution your wallpaper is, SPB will do this bizarre zooming on the picture, so that you lose most of the sides and bottom of the wallpaper.

This is okay, if you have a pattern or nature scene and the primary image you want is central, but if you prefer having your primary Lifestyle panel to one side or the other, or if detail is important, you will be very unhappy with the results.

I have an Samsung Omnia II, so it’s pretty much stuck in a portrait orientation, but if you have something else, you can tweak this for your device. The Omnia’s screen resolution is 400 x 800 VGA.

DSC_5834 (1024x681)

Click for photo source

As an example, let’s just use this in SPB Shell, using the recommended resolution of 960 x 748. We’ll adjust the image so we get that resolution and capture as much of the detail as possible. I’ll also mirror the image because my primary Lifestyle panel is on the far left, and do a little cleaning up of the picture. You can use Photoshop, or some other graphics program to do this, but if you skip the mirror and cleaning, you could even do this with Windows Paint. And yes, the motorcycle logo is reversed because of flipping the image. Are you really looking that close at the motorcycle?

Click for full sized image.

Regardless of how much you moved your image selection in the Shell, it would come out looking something like this.

Click for full sized image.

Well, that sucks. We’ve lost the model and the motorcycle detail. The picture is granulated and seems out of focus. The messed up area at the bottom would be where your Launcher/Contacts bar would be.

So how do we fix this? We add a side and bottom border, so the shell is forced to “scooch” the wallpaper to the fit the screen to the entire image you want to see. The side borders will vanish, and the bottom will descend just to the top of the Launcher/Contacts bar.

Let’s resize the original picture to 720 x 588.

Click for full sized image.

Now we add our borders. I’ve set the bottom border to 136 pixels. The left and right border are 160 pixels each. I set it in black, but you can always change your borders to something more compatible with whatever your wallpaper looks like. When we apply this image in SPB Shell, the left and right borders will disappear “off-screen,” and only the bottom border will show up behind the Launcher/Contacts bar. So here’s our new image.

Click for full sized image.

When you apply it to the shell as wallpaper, it will come out looking a lot like this:

Click for full sized image.

Depending on your device, you can tweak the height and width of your wallpaper. And you’re not stuck to 720 x 588 dimension I started with. Again, you just need to fiddle with the borders to make it work for you. If you prefer your image to run all the way down to the bottom of the screen, using this example, just change your original wallpaper dimensions to 720 x 724, don’t add a bottom border, and just add the side borders.

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