Does the iPad Merit Its Own Email App? Meet Birdseye.
The medium of email might be old, boring and flawed — but recently it has been getting a lot more attention, with inbox management apps like Mailbox and Sparrow (acquired by Google) and novel refreshes like AOL’s visual sorting redesign, Alto.
Another interesting approach is Birdseye, which calls itself the first email client built from the ground up for tablets.
The Birdseye iPad app for Gmail accounts was quietly launched by a New York development shop called DE-DE last week.
“If email sucks, email on an iPad is even worse,” DE-DE CEO Hashem Bajwa told me. “Most email clients have just adapted how email works on a desktop to the tablet, even though our interaction with tablets is different and our needs in terms of email is different.”
Birdseye plays on three advantages of the iPad: 1) it’s visual, 2) you can manipulate it with touch and 3) it’s big enough to fit more than one thing on the screen.
Within Birdseye, emails are displayed as large horizontal tiles. Rather than stacks of subject lines, messages are nicely formatted and displayed in full. Attached images are shown at the top, newsletters are stripped of their subject and sender header so the maximum content is shown.
That means you can see only about three emails within a screen — so it’s not a great way to assess your inbox at a glance. But Birdseye is built to encourage users to deal with their email quickly and immediately.
It’s all very hands-on. So for instance, if Birdseye detects a calendar invite, you can tap to accept and add to your calendar. If Birdseye detects bulk mail, you’re given the option to unsubscribe. If it’s an alert about new Twitter followers, you can tap to follow back.
Birdseye is still in its early days, said Bajwa, but he said some future ideas are Apple TV and AirPlay support. Plus, he wants to add many more inbox actions — to that end, developers are already welcome to play with Birdseye’s code on GitHub.