K-9 Mail app will become Thunderbird’s Android email client
The developers of open-source email client Thunderbird today confirmed that open-source Android email app K-9 Mail will become Thunderbird for Android.
Thunderbird Product and Business Development Manager Ryan Lee Sipes confirmed in May 2022 that Thunderbird would soon be available for Android. The release would fill a gap, as Thunderbird was only available for desktop operating systems until now. The Android version allows Thunderbird users to sync data between the desktop versions and their Android mobile devices.
Developing an Android email client from scratch was one of the options the team discussed, but it would have been a massive project that would have required considerable effort and resources. The idea of collaborating with an existing open-source email project for Android originated in 2018, when Sipes started talking to K-9 Mail project manager Christian Ketterer about potential collaborations.
K-9 Mail “aligns perfectly with Thunderbird’s values of using open standards, being user friendly, and allowing power users unparalleled customization” according to Sipes. Ketterer has previously joined the Thunderbird team, “bringing his expertise and experience with mobile platforms”, and the K-9 Mail app.
Thunderbird will “dedicate financial and development resources to improving K-9 Mail”, including improved account setup, something Thunderbird already received in a recent update, improved folder management, support for support for message filters and the ability to sync data between desktop and mobile clients. The team plans to introduce synchronization support in the summer of 2023.
K-9 Mail will eventually become Thunderbird for Android, but it won’t happen overnight. The client will undergo visual changes to align it closely with Thunderbird.
K-9 Mail remains available, but users who have installed it will experience transformations in the months and years to come to bring the mail application closely in line with Thunderbird’s brand and functionality.
The latest interface update received mixed reviews. Some users who use multiple email accounts in the app said they find it less intuitive to use. Others like its open source nature and that the development is funded by donations.
Joining forces with an existing app and developer makes sense on many levels. K-9 Mail is already available and it will take less time to make it look like Thunderbird. Building an app from scratch would take more resources and more time, and users would likely be unhappy if the initial version lacked some expected features.
Core developer and team should take user reviews seriously as the 3.1 out of 5 star rating is not the best.
There is a good chance that several Many theses will be addressed, with additional development resources becoming available.
Now you: what do you think of the decision?