Mailbox finally available for Android, adds auto-swipe feature

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Jason Cross

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Last year, when the Mailbox app was released for iOS (complete with waiting list for access), the tech community freaked out. Superlatives were thrown around about how amazingly elegant and useful it was. The world finally got the email app it deserved! Our friends at Macworld said, "my primary complaint about Mailbox is that I want to use it on all my devices, including my Mac and my iPad."

Today, after more than a year, you can get this wonder app on your Android phone. Just pop on over to the Play store and grab it, no waiting list required.

Mailbox takes a little bit of a different spin on email - one that worships at the altar of "inbox zero." Swipe a message to the right side to archive it. Swipe further to the right to trash it. Swipe left, and you can pull the mail out of your inbox with a scheduled time to reappear: perhaps later today, this weekend, or next month. It's a very fast way to quickly triage an unruly inbox.

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Mailbox relies on "swipes" to quickly triage or snooze messages.

If you're like me, and your inbox is your to-do list, then the ability to quickly and broadly schedule a reappearance of your inbox items is a great idea.

But the app has its sore spots, perhaps chief of which is that it only supports Gmail and iCloud mail. If you're reliant on an Exchange server or Yahoo Mail or just want to add your own POP or IMAP account, you're out of luck. (Yahoo Mail was added in December, but broke shortly after.)

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If you don't plan to reply to an email right now, snooze it for later so you can clear out your inbox clutter.

Along with Android availability comes a couple new features. First is better Dropbox integration (Mailbox was acquired by Dropbox last year). All your preferences and swipe settings will sync across every device on which you use Mailbox, because all the settings are synced with your Dropbox account.

The second is what the company calls "Auto-swipe." By watching which messages you archive, which you trash, and which you snooze (and for how long), the app can apply these swipes automatically. Examples given on the company blog: automatically snooze mail from your friends until after work, or automatically send receipts to a list.

While Mailbox is a really slick and well-made app, other mail clients have improved substantially over the last year. Still, it's free, so there's no harm in giving it a spin.

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