Sunday, 10 February 2013

Mailbox app for iPhone review

Here I am with another review, this time of the new released Mailbox app for iPhone.

As you might know, this app is being rollout with a reservation system. I was lucky enough to have my reservation done weeks ago and I got access this weekend. I had to wait less than two days to get my access :)

Maybe one of the most important features of Mailbox app is not that it is a mail client, but the way it handles emails. Basically, Mailbox thinks of emails as tasks. Ever time you get an email you can either archive it (nothing to act on), you can schedule it to reply/act on it later on, delete it or send it to a list for later check. This helps you organize your emails and remember to answer them later on without having them hanging around in your inbox for ages :)

The app works only with Gmail accounts at the moment. I am not sure if they will add support for other services. They actually use also their own servers in order to support push notifications. The main idea of the app is to handle emails in your inbox based on your need to act on them. You can schedule emails to reappear on your inbox late today, tomorrow, etc. It is very practical to have your inbox empty and have things reappeared whenever you have to act on them. It also supports push notifications whenever the emails reappear in your inbox.

When you start the app you have a tutorial to learn different gestures to handle the emails:

The app works really smoothly. I have noticed that it works creating a set of folders in your GMail and handles the emails from there. You can access easily those folders in your mail app at your Mac for instance and follow the workflow you use from there as well. However I hope they release an iPad and Mac app at some point.

There are several options to configure times of reminders, lists, etc.

It supports email threading and you can open individual emails just tapping on one. From it you can also delete, archive or schedule the mail to handle later.

Compose window is clean and nice. No extra toolbars or anything disturbing.

As presented in the tutorial the swipe gesture is the main feature in the app. You can access all main mail operations with a long or short swipe to left or right. Colours are used to easily identify the action you are performing.

The best of all is that the app is free of charge, however, the company will have to monetize the service at some point (they are setting up a server infrastructure to handle all users), and I am not sure how they will do this. I read that they might setup premium services and so on, but I would not be willing to pay monthly fees to use a mail app. We will have to wait till they announce it. That is why I do not want to get too hooked to it and after have to pay for the same service I am getting now for free.

Here it is what I like and dislike

I like:
  • Push notifications
  • User interface and speed of the app
  • Free app and service (so far)
  • Workflow for your emails based on when you have to act on them

I dislike:
  • It cannot search on emails not downloaded to the app
  • No iPad/Mac version yet (I hope they come at some point)
  • Don't know how the service will be monetized

I would anyway recommend you to give it a try if you are patient enough to wait on queue for access. You can download here free of charge but bear in mind you will not be able to use it until you get your turn in the queue. And you can follow them on twitter at @mailbox

Until next time!

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