Most people are content using traditional email clients like Gmail or Outlook. This makes it hard for other email clients to survive in this cut-throat business. Alternative email apps have had a tough time mostly from the lack of wide adoption from users and some of them have even had to shut down. They don’t get enough traction from users even paying ones who still prefer to stick to Gmail and Outlook.
The first to go was Mailbox by Orchestra. Mailbox was acquired by Dropbox a month after they launched. Two years later, the popular cloud-storage company stopped supporting it and killed it off on February 2016. Another one to be let go was Inbox. Inbox launched in 2014 as an experimental playground to test out new email features by Google. Some of these features got shipped to Google’s main app and it wasn’t a shocker when Google pulled its plug. The app got discontinued and will be shut down March next year. Other apps that have been shut down include Newton Mail which was killed off in Septemeber and Astro Mail whose operations were ceased after Slack bought it.
The tough market still hasn’t discouraged startups from making other email apps that promise to revolutionize your inbox and still thrive as a business. Here are some of them:
Spike: Web, Windows, Mac, Android and iOS | free – personal / paid – business
Spike is a multiplatform email client that brings all the best elements Slack has to offer to your inbox. This makes it easier to collaborate with fellow co-workers or clients. Spike removes the cliché inbox look and presents person to person emails in a chat interface making it easier to be precise in your emails instead of the writing lengthy formal emails. If both of you are on Spike, you’ll get indicators that show live typing and message deliveries. If the other person isn’t on Spike, you’ll still be able to see if your messages have been read. There are also group chats if you are all on Spike, if the others aren’t, they’ll still get cc’d. It also has voice and video calling capabilities but limited the app only. You can also add other accounts. Spike requires full access to your email and stores a small amount of data on its servers but the data it stores is heavily encrypted.
June: Web, Mac and Windows, iOS, Android(2019) | free – waitlist
June is an email client that still has the Google’s Inbox look but in a conversation-like interface. The main view is arranged from high priority conversations(important emails) and low priority messages are hidden in a feed which lets you sort them in categories like News, Education and Promotions. Remember Google’s Inbox checkmark icon for clearing email away, June still has it. You can also pin message threads too. Other features coming up soon include snooze button and email scheduling. June stores data to its servers for service provision and nothing else. The 2-year-old startup recently raised a $1.5 million and CEO Allie Sutton said will use it to expand its 10 person team.
Superhuman: Web, Mac, iOS; Android, Windows –coming soon | paid – $29 per month: invite only
Superhuman gets you an alternative layout for any Gmail or G suite account. Its CEO, Rahul Vohra once worked at LinkedIn’s email operations after selling to them Rapportive, a Gmail add-on. Superhuman offers the same social media profile panel for everyone who emails you but now for the entire interface. Now you get a minimal interface that looks pretty nice especially with the productivity features packed. You also get shortcuts to use on your keyboard beyond the usual Gmail ones. There’s scheduling, customizing sections by splitting your inbox. It’s faster than Gmail too since everything takes place on your system locally or Gmail servers – Superhuman servers don’t store any of your data. One interesting thing to note is that it has Paul Buchheit who is both a user and investor. In case you didn’t know, he is an ex-Googler who created Gmail.
These are some of the apps that you can switch to if you are over the usual apps and want something different. Happy emailing.