How much do you want to bust out Mean Girls now? Vintage Lohan, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and 2000-calorie energy bars! You’re welcome.
Anyways, as we brick-by-brick our email client, I’ve been busy checking out successful and less successful players in the email improvement space. Initially, my goal was to ferret out features that are present in the former camp and lacking in the latter. Some of the popular features are in the reminder/scheduling camp, including the abilities to defer an incoming email for a later date and schedule a response for a specific date. Some are in the prioritization/categorization camp, whether it’s a simple spam/graymail/important or subject-based categorization. There are also the in-line activity, readability, and unsubscribe-me camps.
And then there are push notifications. For those clients and services with mobile options, push seems to be the most cited indicator of “should I buy it?” AwayFind’s value is built on (a filtered version of) push. Sparrow, the very popular iPhone Mail app replacement, currently only has it for jailbroken iPhones (and just came out on the losing end of a 16,000 signature campaign asking Apple to grant them VoIP privileges).
For third party iPhone apps the dilemma with push notifications is security: since Apple doesn’t allow third party access to the VOIP API, apps that want push are forced to store user data on their own services. In this age of data breaches and DOS attacks , it’s easy to see why third parties, particularly fledgling ones, are hesitant to go with this option.
Security aside, there is another reason not to enable push notifications for email: like Josh Smith, I find them intrusive. I’m a big believer in the twice (okay, sometimes thrice) a-day inbox check—I find I’m much more productive when I don’t have my unread count sneering in my periphery. If you get massive amounts of email, this method most likely will necessitate a prioritization service—Sanebox’s seems to be the best.
Obviously, there are some instances where I do need to be on standby, and for them, I like to use AwayFind’s SMS option, since the service allows only emails from a select group of people to get through.
Does this mean our own mobile email client won’t support push notifications? I can’t say. We will be storing user data on our own servers, so enabling push is technically feasible, but the decision will probably in large part be user-determined.
Do you currently/have you ever enabled push notifications for your mobile email? Do you think it’s a necessary feature? Weigh in in the comments!