Email app from Android 3.1 in Android 3.2?

As pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed, I tried the update to Android 3.2 on my Tab and was not hap­py about the new EMail app. At the week­end I had a lit­tle bit of time, so I tried to get the Email.apk from Android 3.1 into Android 3.2.

Long sto­ry short, I failed.

Tita­ni­um­Back­up PRO was restor­ing or hours (the option to migrate from a dif­fer­ent ROM ver­sion was enabled) until I killed the app, and it did not get any­where (I just emailed their sup­port if I did some­thing com­plete­ly stu­pid, or of this is a bug in TB). And a copy by hand into /system/apps did not work (app fails to start).

Ideas wel­come.

Send to Kin­dle

Android IMAP clients review

My Galaxy Tab was run­ning Android 3.1 since I bought it. The includ­ed EMail client (not the GMail APP) was fine for me. Not as com­fort­able as a real desk­top EMail client (I use Sylpheed-Claws), and not as good as my web­mail inter­face (Horde/IMP), but OK to han­dle 100 – 300 EMails a day. I liked the split into day/week/month in the list-view for the EMails, being able to select a whole day (and des­e­lect a sub­set) for quick actions (delete/move).

Yes­ter­day I updat­ed the Tab to Andorid 3.2. While there is now a nice trans­parence effect avail­able in some places, and the Play-Store has a dif­fer­ent user-interface, the big dif­fer­ence for me is, that the behav­ior of the EMail client changed. When I view a mes­sage the message-list moves the message-list in a way that the select­ed mes­sage is in the first posi­tion of the message-list. This is annoy­ing, and I have not found a set­ting how to change this. This way I can not view the last dis­played mes­sage, select it (or not), view the sec­ond last, select it … and so on … and then delete all mes­sage at once.

I also noticed that the folder-list is mov­ing. I have not noticed a spe­cif­ic pat­tern, but when I return to the folder-list I found the incom­ing fold­er being the first one dis­played, even if I was in a fold­er sev­er­al pages down. This is annoy­ing too.

Well… this gave the oppor­tu­ni­ty to have a look at oth­er EMail clients. The first one was K‑9 Mail. The first bad impres­sion was, that the box­es to select EMails are too small. I select a lot of EMails to either delete them direct­ly (a sub­set of ver­sion con­trol com­mit logs), or to move them to a dif­fer­ent fold­er. It is a nice app, but as I need to select a lot, it is not real­ly suit­able for my work­flow.

For the next app, Mail­Droid, I did not had the pos­si­bil­i­ty to accept the self-signed cer­tifi­cate of my IMAP-server, so I delet­ed it imme­di­ate­ly.

The next app was Mel­win Mail (tri­al ver­sion). It is based upon K‑9 Mail. The message-selector box­es are big­ger, but the mesasge-list does not dis­play the full sub­ject. This does not allow me to see if I can delete the EMail unread or not. I also did not find a way to enlarge the message-list to see more of the sub­ject (and I want to have the font-size not too small). Well… this means it is not suit­able too.

I also want­ed to look at Kait­en. It is based upon K‑9 Mail too. Unfor­tu­nate­ly I do not find a tri­al ver­sion. Based upon my expe­ri­ence with Mel­win Mail, I do not want to pay for some­thing, I may not want to use. On the web­site I do not see a link to screen­shots or sim­i­lar, only a change-log.

All the “best EMail app” postings/articles I was able to find (and have a look at) told that K‑9 Mail, is the best free one, and a lot of peo­ple rec­om­mend Mel­win Mail or Kait­en. I can not agree for my work­flow. EMail apps have to go a long way until they reach a niveau which allows to han­dle more than a hand­ful of mails per day and a not so sim­ple work­flow like “read all EMails as they flow in”.

Based upon this, I switched back to Android 3.1 on my Tab. While the includ­ed EMail client is not per­fect (e.g. I can not select all EMails at once in search-results), it is still bet­ter suit­ed than what I have seen so far.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly I can not real­ly test 4.0.x on my Tab, the cam­era does not work in community-based Android 4.0.x ver­sions, and I do not want to miss the pos­si­bil­i­ty to do a video-call with my deaf broth­er.

Send to Kin­dle

Android Wish­list: The EMail-App

Things I do not like with Android, and what I would expect instead.

The EMail-App

 This is about the nor­mal EMail App on a stock Android 3.1, not about GMail. The con­nec­tion is via IMAP.

  • By default the most recent EMail is on top. If I switch to oldest-first order, the old­est EMail is shown when enter­ing a fold­er. I want to see the most recent one. If I let the most-recent order, I see direct­ly the newest mes­sages, but when I read the old­est unread mes­sage and delete it, the more old mes­sage is dis­played, instead of the more recent one. KMail is doing this bet­ter (it is able to go “up” instead of only “down” to go to the more recent mes­sage when the most recent mail is sort­ed on top), but in KMail I can not select mul­ti­ple mes­sages as easy as with the nor­mal EMail App (it seems I have to long-tap on a mail and then tell to select the EMail, and just then I can just quick­ly tab on the very small area on the left of the sub­ject to select more EMails).
  • Select­ing mes­sages could also be improved. When I select sev­er­al mes­sages, and then – by acci­dent – enter a mes­sage and want to go back, the first “go back” uns­e­lects all mes­sages and the sec­ond “go back” goes back to the folder-view. I would like to go back direct­ly to the folder-view, instead of uns­e­lect­ing all mes­sages.
  • The folder-view itself is also not nice. I have a lot of fold­ers. IMAP sub­fold­ers are sep­a­rat­ed by a dot, e.g. FreeB­SD.arch and FreeB­SD.mul­ti­me­dia are the sub­fold­ers arch and mul­ti­me­dia in the fold­er FreeB­SD. Each desk­top EMail pro­gram I used so far was intel­li­gent enough to cre­ate a folder-hierarchy out of this, with the pos­si­bil­i­ty to col­lapse the dis­play of all sub­fold­ers of FreeB­SD (I have a lot there, not only those 2) into one entry. If I want to field some­thing in my hier­ar­chi­cal fold­er struc­ture, I have to scroll a long list of fold­ers, instead of just (auto-)opening (dur­ing drag&drop) the cor­rect hier­ar­chy.
  • I do not find an option to tell that the App shall have a look at more than the default inbox to look for new mes­sages. If I want to know if there is a new mes­sage in one of the oth­er fold­ers, I must have a look into the folder(s).
  • It looks like I can only pro­duce TOFU-replies, I have not found a way to do a prop­er interleaved-style reply.
  • The error mes­sages when set­ting up an out­go­ing (and I assume incom­ing) serv­er are too brief for my taste. As a default it is OK, but there should be an option to enable more verbose/technical error mes­sages for those which are able to under­stand them.
  • It does not option­al­ly save send mails to a spe­cif­ic (con­fig­urable) fold­er.
  • It does not allow to cryp­to­cal­ly sign mes­sages (at the moment I do not real­ly care if it is via S/MIME or via PGP).
  • I also would like to tab with two fin­gers, and the text in-between is select­ed (not only in the EMail-App).
Send to Kin­dle

(Free)BSD inside Android

Today I was look­ing into the Open­Source licens­es which are dis­played for Android (2.3.4). There are sev­er­al files which come with a BSD license.

Dur­ing look­ing at it, I noticed that the libm has the copy­right of sev­er­al FreeB­SD peo­ple. I did not had an in-deep look if this is because they took the FreeB­SD libm, or if this is because parts of the FreeB­SD libm where adopt­ed by oth­er BSD projects.

What I noticed is, that some spe­cial char­ac­ters are not dis­played cor­rect­ly. For exam­ple the name Dag-Erling Smør­grav looks man­gled in the dis­play of the license inside the phone (I hope it is dis­played bet­ter in my blog). His name is not the only prob­lem case, there are also oth­er char­ac­ters which are not ren­dered as expect­ed.

This does not real­ly look pro­fes­sion­al.

Send to Kin­dle