Email hasn't seen any real innovation for quite some time. Birdseye Mail, a free, recently-released iPad app, isn’t going to win any innovation awards, either. But it does make browsing email a lot more pleasant.
If you mashed up Flipboard with Gmail, you’d get Birdseye Mail. The developer says it is "the first email client built from the group up for tablets," providing a "finger-friendly visual overview of your inbox." And that it does. Rather than scrolling through a list of messages, as you would with a traditional email client, you swipe from left to right in Birdseye Mail (or vice versa), viewing large thumbnails of each individual message.
When you see a message you need to read you just tap to enlarge it. Icons at the top right of the message let you reply or forward message; star it; delete it; or tap to go to the next message. When swiping through thumbnails, you can also click an icon beneath each email to perform the same tasks without having to actually open the message. Depending on the email, you may also see an “Unsubscribe” button or a button to launch the website of the person or company that sent you the email. Clicking the launch button for a Mint.com weekly summary, for instance, took me to Mint.com in Safari.
A few small complaints: When creating a new email message, you can type in a recipient’s name and Birdseye Mail adds them in the "to" field. However, most of my contacts have multiple email addresses, and I couldn’t tell to which address the email would be sent. Also, the app doesn’t support Google’s 2-step verification, which many security-conscious Gmail users depend on. And you must have a Gmail account to use the app. That said, Birdseye Mail is one of the more interesting and visually-appealing email clients I’ve seen in a long time.
(Screen shot by DE-DE, Birdseye Mail Developer)