The rumors are that Mozilla will be launching version 2.0 of its open source email client Thunderbird this week. Considered a serious competitor to Microsoft’s Outlook, Thunderbird features the similar technology used in the Firefox browser. It’s free, constantly updated and you can add all sorts of add-ons to it. In our review of Thunderbird we explained how much we appreciated those features but lamented the lack of proper business oriented tools (like Exchange compatibility or a calendar).
It’s no secret that version 2.0 will finally incorporate multiple tagging for messages, folder views, find as you type and an improved add-ons manager; you can already test these out in the 2.0 Beta. Scott MacGregor lead engineer for Thunderbird, gave Read/WriteWeb a bit more info to chew on, without expanding too much on details. We should be expecting “webmail integration with Gmail and .Mac” and message history to browse to the messages you’ve read previously. Disappointingly, Scott did not reveal much about the expanded add-ons manager, and how different it will be to the one already in Thunderbird. Will there be more themes and extensions available? Will Thunderbird suggest add-ons according to what use you want to make of it?
We like Thunderbird and are glad to see new features being implemented into it. While we can’t wait to try out tagging, search as you type and webmail integration we still wonder if version 2.0 will seem a real step up from 1.5. If you really can’t wait till the end of the week for the full release, you can make your own opinion by testing out the Beta version.