By JAIME NETZER
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
Boxer’s motto is, “Email isn’t broken, it’s just unfair.”
It’s about an overload problem, says Boxer CEO and co-founder, Andrew Eye. “People are all frustrated by overload, and they tend to pick a scapegoat,” he says. “Email is a convenient scapegoat, people say it’s old, it’s broken, it needs to be replaced.” But, he says, it’s not actually broken. By and large, the emails that we get are those we want—or wanted at some point—to receive. Spam isn’t nearly the problem today that it was years ago. (“Google helped us solve that problem,” Eye adds.) But mobile email still comes in one continuous, linear stream. And that, Boxer says, is unfair.
The answer is a kind of email triage: With Boxer, a mobile email management app, users can utilize gestures to swipe their inbox clean. “The thing people want to do the most with email is delete it. It’s important to people to be able to as quickly as they can make a decision, take an action. In a lot of cases that decision is just, ‘is this important to me or not?’”
With Boxer, users can delete email, but they can also acknowledge receipt of email. As its website says: “That’s right, we added a Like button to email.”
Boxer, founded in 2012, previously known as TaskBox, has created an email application that lets people manage their email accounts. Its application supports Exchange, Google’s Gmail and Google Apps, Yahoo! Mail, Apple’s iCloud, AOL mail and Microsoft’s Outlook and Hotmail. Its app is available for free download through Apple’s iTunes app store.
The company, based in Austin, raised $3 million in venture funding last year. Boxer also acquired Enhanced Email to boost its Android development in February of this year and it now has 15 full time employees, according to TechCrunch.
Randolph Bias, professor in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin and an expert on tech usability, agrees that mobile email is the challenge to meet at this point in time: “Mobile email management is difficult for the same reason that so many tasks are hard to translate to the small device—we users have experience with the functionality on our laptops or tablets, and thus “mental models” of how the process should work and expectations about what functions will be provided, and it is hard to squeeze all that onto the small screen,” Bias explains. “Or, more to the point, [it’s] hard to decide which functionality to keep up close to the surface and which to bury, several keystrokes or gestures away.”
For his part, Bias was mostly impressed with Boxer’s functionality, but would offer up one change, to the Like function. “They should’ve used some other term, like “received,” that better expresses the user’s intent,” Bias says. “Plus, if I get an email that says “Aunt Edna died,” I don’t want to “like” it.”
But other customers have been thrilled with Boxer, which also offers integrated to dos and combined inboxes. “Boxer makes dealing with mobile email fast and easy, and it has completely replaced the default mail app on my iPhone,” says Michael Trafton, a Boxer user and Austin-based start-up entrepreneur. “I love being able to delete or archive my emails with a simple swipe of my finger.”
“Like most business owners, I’m drowning in email—I receive hundreds of messages a day,” Trafton adds. “Boxer makes it easy for me keep on top of my email. I can process my inbox with one hand—a simple swipe will delete or archive a message, or I can dash off a quick reply using message templates—no typing necessary. If an email needs further action, I add it to my ToDo list and it’s waiting for me when I get back to the office.”
That kind of control is exactly what Eye has in mind. “The mobile inbox is such a huge opportunity to make people’s lives better, to make them feel more in control, to make them feel like they’re accountable, like they responsive,” Eye says. “The inbox has never been associated with these types of words, but it’s really this wonderful source, if I want to know all the things I’m supposed to be looking at and thinking about.”
Wonderful, that is, as long as you have an app to help with you the decoding. To learn more about Boxer, visit www.getboxer.com.