Do we need local email software?

Posted by Kirby Turner on October 24, 2005

A few months back I mentioned that White Peak Software is working on a new product to be released next year. That product, code name Vertigo, is a new type of email client for the PC. The current plan includes 3 editions to Vertigo: Basic, Personal, and Business editions. The Basic edition is a simple to use email client but the Personal and Business editions will go beyond what other email clients such as Outlook offer.

I have shared my vision of improved communication software with many people over the 6 to 12 months. A common response I get from some is “Why write a PC version of an email client?” This response typically comes from consumers who use online email such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo for personal emails. My response is always the same, “Not everyone wants to or can work with email while connected.”

For lots of users there are times when a person needs to catch up on emails while traveling on a plane or train. Or maybe that person is staying at a hotel in another country that does not offer a broadband Internet access or all you have is dial-up access to the Internet. And there are still others who want to do more with their email data such as track statistics, generate reports, and integrate/share the data with other locally run application.

I’m not the only one who believes there is a need for local email. As Rafe Needleman put it:

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“People who need to work when they are disconnected–and that’s most of us–need a PC with an e-mail application, a modicum of processing power, and local storage. For us, online e-mail applications–be they consumer e-mail like Yahoo or Microsoft’s corporate solution, Outlook Web Access–are useful adjuncts to local e-mail applications. They are not a replacement.”

Will this ever change? I believe this will change within my lifetime but I don’t see it happening before 2010 or 2012 at the earliest. It requires that we are always connected to the Internet, which is not the case for so many people today. Or it might require a new way of integrating local programs with web-base application. It’s hard to time what the right answer will be, and how or if the browser will become the platform. I do know, however, that there is a need for local email programs like Vertigo and this need will continue for years to come.

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