It might sound like a generic name for a Spice Girl but Spicebird is actually one of the most exciting communication suites to have been developed in a long time.
If it fulfills its potential, Spicebird could spell the end of Microsoft Outlook’s dominance and be a permanent fixture on desktops everywhere. If it doesn’t, it will be remembered as a poor spin-off of the moderately successful Thunderbird e-mail client that Mozilla developed. Spicebird isn’t actually being developed by Mozilla although it is based on the Mozilla Gecko engine. It is in fact being developed by Synovel and features principally an e-mail client, calendar and and an IM client based on Jabber. Everything has been integrated in an intelligent way so that if someone sends you an important date by e-mail or via the chat, you’re prompted whether you want to add it to your calendar’s agenda. The suite has also been developed with a focus on integration with Gmail so if you’re a user, all your contacts can be conveniently imported immediately. Spicebird also features a nifty RSS reader to keep you ahead of the latest news from your favourite sites. And like Outlook, it warns you when a meeting or appointment is approaching on your calendar.
At the moment, Spicebird is still very much a work in progress and in the future will include new languages and many more extensions to enhance it’s performance. However, there are still many basic things that still need to improve before it can seriously rival Outlook including a more advanced contacts list and much lighter RAM consumption. In terms of the e-mail client, there are undeniable similarities between Mozilla’s Thunderbird and Spicebird but unfortunately, the two don’t seem to have been integrated very well so importing your contacts isn’t possible.
I’ve got my fingers crossed that this could be the Firefox of communication suites and I’ll be keeping a close eye on the Spicebird website for the final version later this year.