Mailbox pushes the envelope (get it?) for apps aiming to make email sane. It is a brand new email client based on mobile gestures aiming to make email suck less and help you get to Inbox Zero. Mailbox been called “the best email management app you’ll ever use.”
Meet Mailbox from Mailbox on Vimeo.
Jason Shah does an excellent job of describing the value of Mailbox. After using Mailbox, I completely agree. The feeling of having your mailbox empty is excellent and calming. The power of setting timed reminders to bring email into your inbox only when you need it, is awesome. The clean UI makes composing and organizing email an excellent experience. It is a new product and takes some getting used to, but it is more than worth it.
I don’t think there is much debate on whether Mailbox is a nice product, but many have other critiques. As you may know, Mailbox implemented a queued reservation system to progressively allow users access to the Mailbox service. Mailbox provides certain backend services that need to be scaled to the user demand. Many accuse Mailbox of trying to create some sort of marketing hype for the app with their queue system.
People complained that the reservation system didn’t work properly and the product wasn’t that unique:
Mailbox is simply a tool. A very nice one, a well-designed one. I like it. But it’s just a tool and a blunt one at that. No app will save you from e-mail. You can’t swipe and sort your way to a better you, no matter how long the line is.
Jared Erondu says:
I realized that the Mailbox team are truly out to do something different. You see, you can’t fix a problem, beat a company, or even move an idea forward by simply duplicating and reskinning what already exists.
Pando Daily says:
And, while I look forward to being allowedto use their Mailbox application, what I really look forward to is when Google writes the few lines of code necessary to provide that functionality to my existing proprietary Gmail app.
And this is what Orchestra Inc. doesn’t seem to get. They are not a company or a product — they are a feature.
I can’t see millions of people switching over to Mailbox. But I can see Apple or Google buying Orchestra, or copying Mailbox’s features.
Matt Galligan says:
I do love Mailbox, and they’ll get past these scaling issues, I’m sure. But I’m less bullish on their their true long-term potential. They had an absolutely incredible launch, but at what cost?
In general, I hope that startups and companies are more comfortable with charging for the value their services provide their users going forward. Otherwise I’m going to begin having a real distrust in these services that I rely on daily.
I reference all of these opinions to show that while Mailbox is a beautiful AND useful product, some parts of the Mailbox experience aren’t perfect. People want to pay for great software without having their personal info sold or used for ads. People want confidence that if they start relying on your product that you won’t get acquired and disappear (i.e. Sparrow). People would rather pay for a premium product or be able to pay to get to the front of the line. A queue system may be a fun marketing gimmick and can attract some attention, but it doesn’t necessarily instill confidence in users. A company can instill confidence by demonstrating that they have a business plan and the engineering talent to scale and handle problems.
Mailbox is far from crap, and I think it is an excellent product. Give it a chance and we can all watch and see what it becomes. I, for one, hope they can continue to move email forward.