Postbox 2.0 e-mail client goes public beta

With Mail built into Mac OS X and Gmail rocking the Web space, the third-party desktop e-mail client market isn’t exactly massive. But Postbox and Postbox Express have carved out a slice of the pie with unique features, useful file and media tools, and a sprinkling of integration with Facebook and Twitter. A major 2.0 upgrade on the way promises to streamline your e-mail workflow with new features and refinements, and now you can take a public beta for a spin.

New in Postbox 2 are Unified Inboxes and Groups, which mimics Mail’s feature of optionally viewing all messages across multiple account inboxes in one “folder.” However, Postbox 2 allows you to create roups of Unified Inboxes, so if you have multiple work addresses in addition to personal addresses, for example, you can create a Group for viewing just your work inboxes while you’re on the clock.

Postbox 2 also features a new Focus Pane for filtering messages by various attributes, a new To-Do View for managing tasks, and refreshed Conversation View features for keeping up with e-mail threads. A Quick Reply option makes it easy to fire off a brief answers when a full message window is overkill, and new keyboard shortcuts make it easy to move messages and switch folders without touching your mouse. Other new features, performance improvements, and bug fixes round out what should be a significant upgrade to an already powerful e-mail client for both Mac OS X and Windows.

The Postbox 2 public beta is free to test. The currently shipping version of Postbox (1.1.5) requires Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger or later, though system requirements are not yet listed for the version 2.0 public beta. A Postbox license costs $40, and Postbox Express offers a smaller feature set for free.

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