Email Clients – Are They Still Needed?

July 17, 2012

We’re rapidly becoming a mobile centric world where all interactions happen on our phone or our tablet (both of these should now be considered computers given their power.)  If your phone or tablet devices are from Apple, then you really have only one email client, unless you read your email on the web even on your Apple device.  Most I know use the native mail client.  Even on Andoid where we have choice, most I know either use the native app or they use the Gmail client (even for their Google hosted corporate mail.)

However, nothing compares to the 15″ of widescreen goodness I have with my laptop.  My MacBook Pro 15 fits my 5’11” frame perfectly when I’m sitting at a desk and I need to type quickly and accurately with as little eye squint as possible.  So, given how good Google webmail, Microsoft Outlook Web Access, Zimbra’s web interface and others are, should we still be using an email client?

YES.  YES.  YES.  Some clients are better than others (see notes below)  But, in general, they all work the same.  And it’s really hard to find a mail client or server that doesn’t support IMAP providing synchronized offline operation.  Sure, it’s hard to not be online nowadays.  But, sometimes you are (airplane.)  Email clients are faster than web interfaces.  They provide multi-account support.  They provide easier drag and drop operation.  And their rendering of HTML appears to be better.

So, what do you choose?

For those on Windows (Vista and 7), you must consider Outlook.  But, you don’t have to.  Windows Mail in Vista supports IMAP.  Windows Mail isn’t included with Windows 7.  However, WIndows Live Mail can be downloaded from Microsoft for free and is the successor to Windows Mail.  And it supports IMAP and thus can accomodate most mail servers.  For those wanting even better that what is provided by Microsoft, look to Mozilla Thunderbird.  Thunderbird is powerful and stable and available on both the Mac OS X and Windows (XP/Vista/7).  It too support IMAP.

For the Mac, Apple Mail is standard on OS X.  It too is a great email client.  Your other choices are Thunderbird and Microsoft Outlook.  Outlook now is a worthy choice on OX X given it is near a replica of the Windows version.  It’s calendar does lack a few key features (CalDAV).  But, you can always use iCal.  It does though, just like Apple Mail, support Exchange and IMAP.

Most of all, all these emails make it easy to forward or BCC emails to a Salestrakr Email Dropbox.  Just put that dropbox address in your address book with a unique name (such as “dropbox”) and you’re set.  Just don’t think you have to use the Gmail interface because your company has decided to use Google for it’s corporate mail hosting.