Jonathan George, boxcar.io co-founder, is part of the new team behind Evomail (US$2.99), an iPad-only email client that aims to truly "re-invent email." I've been testing the release candidate they submitted to Apple (which is now live in the App Store), and from what I've seen it's a respectable first volley of a product whose path will be, in the words of its founders, "a marathon and not a sprint."
Part of the reinvention is UI-related, and part is functionality, specifically allowing full-time push notifications from a 3rd party client. This reinvention, however, comes at a cost: you need to provide Evomail access to your email account so their servers can log in to check for mail and deliver these push notifications.
Providing a 3rd party access to your email is a hurdle that many folks may find insurmountable, and understandably so. Email is perhaps the single place where so much of us store and transact confidential and/or private information. Giving a third party, even a trusted third party, access to this data requires a huge leap of faith. But if you're willing to do that you get something that, thus far, is relatively unavailable in an iPad email client, especially when compared to the built-in one from Apple: push notifications for your third-party email account. And yes, by "third party," we mean Gmail. Out of the gate, in fact, Gmail is the only account type that will be supported, but we're told more will be added quickly.
Knowing that at least part of this team comes from push-notification leaders, boxcar.io, though, makes this story a little more compelling, especially since their initial plan is for an aggressive, bi-weekly update cycle. I don't expect them to stop with just push notifications for all your mail… there's quite a bit in their pipeline here, and they clearly have the ability (and, yes, access) to do some very creative and targeted notification types. This could be good for those of us high-volume email users where "push everything" is not a valuable solution.
Evomail generates instant push notifications for all your email
Taking this and riffing on it (and no, I don't have any of this inside info, I'm just speculating), I could see setting different groups of people from whom you'd want push notifications at different times. An "always" group that's self-explanatory, but also perhaps a "work" group from whom you'd only get push notifications during the work/weekday. Or maybe even setting filters on not only the message but a certain subject line. If there was a project you're working on that's getting close to release, you might want to always get notified if someone writes you about that, regardless of who they are or what time it is. The possibilities here are endless and it will be interesting to see what "re-inventing email" means to Evomail six months down the road.
Some users will find Evomail's Quick-access label, archive, and delete buttons a welcome addition
The UI is clean, but not overly surprising, and is definitely missing some elements. But it's usable and some may even find it smoother that Apple's default Mail.app, too. It features easy-access delete, archive, and label buttons right on each message, as well as the ability to star a message. Again, nothing markedly different than Apple's Mail here (yet?), but the UI is a little more geared towards the Gmail user specifically.
I'm watching this one with a very interested eye. It's good to see people looking for new ways to think about email.