Thunderbird was supposed to be to email what Firefox was to web-pages, but isn’t that in itself flawed? I mean if we’re thinking about yesteryear when all the average consumer had to choose from was different flavours of Outlook, it was even a stretch back then. In terms of email what is there to open? What is there to educate? People weren’t looking for alternatives to Outlook because it was bad. There were improvements to make, but not on the level that IE6 had to make changes to stop holding the internet back. And it’s for that very reason that the adoption rate for Outlook was so overwhelming.
If you fast-forward to now, you’re wondering even more about what is the point of Thunderbird, it’s been killed off and resurrected by Mozilla, pushed around between parent departments like an unwanted baby on a Friday night, and even then it’s simply flagging.
From what I can see, the issue with Thunderbird is that it’s a relative of Firefox more like a cousin than a sister application. This can be seen in things like the approach to the UX, rather than Mozilla saying as a company that they want their products to follow this train of thought or what-not, Thunderbird has it’s own design team which at my last checking haven’t ported over specific design features from Firefox. Namely Tabs in Titlebar, Application Button and tab design that define what the Mozilla experience is.
There are some flaws in the whole Mozilla approach to their products, it’s that the environment is so product orientated rather than platform orientated and if you’ve read back through some of your posts, I’m a big fan of the platform. Even more so in the potential of the platform. However, unless Mozilla make a prioritised move to supporting the products solely through the platform, it could cause it’s own self collapse and Thunderbird is testament to this.
Looking at Firefox for example as a whole (including both desktop and mobile), there’s a lot of duplicated code, two ways of achieving the same thing, where as Mozilla should be creating a single API that can do both depending on the interface. This is the sole reason that it’s taken so long to port Thunderbird to Android which is in fact likely to be a driving force of Mozilla when it comes to fruition.
Android lacks sufficient email clients. The default email client is literally substandard and poor. Even Google seem to be at odds as to understand what a touch-based smartphone email client should be like, you only need to look at GMail for Android to understand that. But where is Thunderbird for Android to fill this gap? We know that users like consistency, if a user uses Firefox at work, they’re likely to use Firefox at home if they’re yet to set an allegiance. Failure to convert the Thunderbird product to a platform and re-release as a killer App will see the death of it. Which Firefox following slowly but surely after. Firefox will encounter problems that could’ve been avoided when they move to a native UI for Android, but still there will be underlying problems. If someone at Mozilla is thinking along my lines, Firefox could be in problems, as the Thunderbird release for Android could shift the focus from Firefox to Thunderbird as the flagship product.