I have little mini flings with email clients fairly regularly and always find my way back to something that is either just Gmail itself or some wrapper that doesn’t actually touch the Gmail UI.
Shortwave is for Gmail, but replaces the UI entirely, so for me, that’s harder to get right and usually what ends up losing me. In this case, it’s what is keeping me. The UI is just pleasant enough to use that I would miss it if I went back. Nothing fancy, just the Markdown formatting, the paste-URL-over-selected-text-to-link-it, the smooth swiping, the pinning idea.
It’s a tightrope though. There are things already having me open back up Gmail directly. You can’t view your spam folder, for example, so if you have a feeling something went there, you gotta go back. Same for the “All Mail” view. I had wiped away an appointment confirmation email an hour or two and didn’t have any way to go back and look for that, since I couldn’t think of a good search term and it wasn’t showing up in conversations. There is also a more elusive “trust” feeling. Like if you’re waiting for a very important email to arrive, I found myself back in the Gmail interface, unsure if there would be delay between Gmail itself and the Shortwave wrapper. So while I’m still on Shortwave for now, it’ll have to keep innovating and improving likely to hold on.
It’s a tough game out there. I had on my list of things to check out an email client called Tempo. I bookmarked it back in September. “The email client that helps you focus”, they said. And by the time I went to check it out today, I discovered it had closed down last October.
We put our heart and soul into Tempo, and are proud of what we have achieved. Unfortunately, that’s not always enough. Due to a mix of running out of steam both energy-wise and financially, we sadly don’t see a path forward for Tempo as a company.
Rooting for Shortwave here though.