July 1, 2022


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Mozilla launches e-mail for Android units

Mozilla as we speak introduced a brand new e-mail shopper for Android units referred to as Okay-9 Mail. The cellular app is being launched as a part of Mozilla’s Thunderbird household of open-source desktop e-mail and chat functions.

Okay-9 Mail shouldn’t be new. The supply code for it was first printed 2008, and MZLA Applied sciences acquired it and its logos, and it employed the open supply venture maintainer of Okay-9 Mail as a full-time developer to enhance the app and to assist step by step transition it to Thunderbird cellular.

MZLA Applied sciences, a subsidiary of the Mozilla Basis, stated it is usually at present evaluating the event of a Okay-9 e-mail shopper for iOS units.

The event group for MZLA Applied sciences plans to enhance the e-mail characteristic set to extra carefully resemble that of its Thunderbird desktop e-mail shopper.

These deliberate enhancements embody account setup utilizing Thunderbird account auto-configuration, in addition to folder administration, help for message filters, and synchronization between desktop and cellular variations of Thunderbird, Mozilla stated. (Okay-9 Mail is accessible for obtain by means of these numerous websites.)

“Finally, Okay-9 Mail will rework into Thunderbird on Android, as soon as sure growth milestones have been achieved which align it carefully with Thunderbird’s characteristic set and visible look,” Okay-9 Mail Challenge Maintainer Christian Ketterer stated in a weblog submit. (Ketterer is best recognized within the Mozilla open-source developer group as cketti.)

Thunderbird is a free and open-source e-mail, calendaring, newsfeed, and chat shopper with greater than 20 million energetic month-to-month customers throughout Home windows, macOS, and Linux.

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At the moment, Android cellular customers have numerous e-mail and chat choices, together with Google’s Gmail, Microsoft Outlook, and ProtonMail, an end-to-end encrypted e-mail service.

Ryan Lee Sipes, Thunderbird Product Supervisor, stated working with the Thunderbird e-mail group to develop the brand new cellular shopper made extra sense than creating a cellular shopper from scratch. “Becoming a member of the Thunderbird household permits Okay-9 to change into extra sustainable and offers us the sources to implement long-requested options and fixes that our customers need,” Sipes stated. “In different phrases, Okay-9 Mail will soar to higher heights with the assistance of Thunderbird.”

Mozilla plans to supply Firefox Sync as one choice to permit customers to securely sync accounts between Thunderbird and Okay-9. The characteristic is anticipated to be applied in the summertime of 2023.

Andrew Cornwall, a senior analyst with analysis agency Forrester, referred to as the Okay-9 Mail annoucement “vital.”

“Okay-9 was one of many first third-party e-mail shoppers on Android, and it developed a big person base amongst customers who needed to hold monitor of a number of inboxes. About ten years in the past it was among the many most beneficial third-party e-mail shoppers for Android, and a whole lot of long-time customers have caught with it. As of as we speak, it’s listed as having 5M+ downloads on Google Play,” Cornwall stated.

Improvement of Okay-9, nevertheless, stalled and the code was principally in “upkeep mode,” he famous. In January, a brand new 6.000 launch went out to the Play Retailer, a transfer that surpised many customers. The discharge included an up to date person interface that targeted on a single inbox relatively than a number of inboxes. As an alternative of being welcomed, the in focus upset many current customers, Cornwall stated.

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One other concern for current customers of Okay-9 Mail was its help for OAuth2, an authorization protocol that enables the shopper to entry e-mail sources of the person with out sharing passwords.

“This has been a perennial criticism (since a minimum of 2015) and the difficulty has now been pressured: Google has disabled the normal approach that almost all Okay-9 Mail customers used to entry their Gmail,” Cornwall stated. “Customers are left with workarounds involving two-factor authentication for Gmail, and no actual workaround for Outlook when organizations require an OAuth2 login.”

General, Mozilla’s adoption of Okay-9 Mail can be welcome to its current customers, lots of whom use Thunderbird on their desktops for the same multiple-inbox workflow, Cornwall stated.

“At this time, some Okay-9 Mail customers have switched to utilizing Okay-9 Mail for his or her non-Gmail mail and the Google Gmail app to verify Gmail. The considered a brand new Google Play launch from Mozilla with Oauth2 fixes will be the encouragement that current customers want to stay round,” he stated.

Okay-9 could have an identical feel and appear to Thunderbird’s present desktop app, excluding sure capabilities.

Thunderbird for Android initially is not going to help calendars, duties, feeds, or chat just like the desktop app, cketti wrote in a Q&A included as a part of his weblog submit. Ketterer stated the developer group is first engaged on “a tremendous e-mail expertise,” and is contemplating one of the best ways to supply Thunderbird’s different performance on Android. “However at present [we] are nonetheless debating how finest to attain that.”

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For example, he wrote, one technique to have the ability to use Thunderbird’s desktop e-mail characteristic set is to easily sync calendars, after which customers can use their most well-liked calendar utility on their machine.

“However we now have to debate this inside the group, and the Thunderbird and Okay-9 communities, then determine what the most effective strategy is,” Ketterer wrote.

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