The future of the inbox

Created in 1965, email is one of the oldest computer technologies still in use today and it keeps evolving. 

Email’s evolution is in response to the ever-increasing demand of users and email providers have to seize opportunities to satisfy their subscribers with new features and improved performance. Although some of these innovations may seem like gimmicks, many aim to revolutionise the way we use email.

SUPER INBOX

Most people have more than one email address; two is often the minimum required to cater for both a professional and a personal inbox. Switching between multiple email clients or apps to manage multiple mailboxes can be quite frustrating, so most email clients allow users to add and use several accounts.

The super inbox takes this concept one step further: not only can you log in with accounts from different providers but all your messages can be grouped into one inbox containing the list of all messages no matter which account originally received the message.

PRODUCTIVITY INTEGRATIONS

We don’t know whether service integrations within email clients will be a positive thing in the long run but that proverbial ship has already set sail. Mailboxes are no longer simply “email”; along with the (now expected) calendar and storage features, social media, RSS readers and instant messaging are now all part of the mix. 

It’s also possible that these so called “productivity tools” may actually decrease productivity and mailboxes should only be used for email in order to reduce noise.

CROSS DEVICE

With 67.03% of email opens, mobile devices dominate the market and users dislike being forced to switch between different apps on different devices. They also don’t want to learn new usages, especially with something like email which is perceived as quite basic and yet a miss-click could have dramatic consequences.

Email providers now need to have clients that adapt to every device if they want to meet the market’s expectations. 

WHAT ABOUT TECH IMPROVEMENTS?

Apart from all these trends, performance is still what matters most. After all, there’s no point having all these features if they’re unreliable or if they take forever to load.

Will inboxes evolve to incorporate more features or will they focus on email and performance? Only time will tell, but we think that the future inbox should place less importance on shiny, fun new features and, instead, increase focus on performance.

New protocols such as JMAP are exciting as they overcome the legacy of IMAP and hugely improve performance of email servers. Here’s a video where you can see the speed difference between IMAP and JMAP. 

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By Mark | July 1, 2015

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