Jul 03, 2013

    E-mail overload? Clear inbox with these apps

    BURIED under e-mail messages? Losing control of an overflowing inbox? New apps have been designed to help consumers deal with seemingly-endless streams of electronic mail.

    Three apps, Dispatch and Boxer for the iPhone, and Boomerang for Android devices, try to make e-mail management on smartphones fast and simple.

    Another app called Sanebox, which works on any platform and costs between US$2 (S$2.50) and US$20 each month, creates a folder in a user's mailbox where it filters unimportant messages. Algorithms in the app learn about a user's behaviour to understand what he considers urgent.

    "You think you're being productive by clearing stuff out of your inbox but, no matter how good you are, more e-mail messages will keep coming," said Mr Dmitri Leonov, vice-president of Boston-based SaneBox.

    The average office worker spends 13 hours each week reading, writing and replying to e-mail messages, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.

    The Dispatch app works by communicating with 16 other apps, such as one for note-taking and another linked to to-do lists, to simplify e-mail messages.

    Users can send a link to Instapaper, an app for reading articles at a later time, and can also customise messages to help them respond to e-mail messages faster.

    Boxer has a feature where users can "like" an e-mail message and put it on the app's to-do list for later processing. Users can also request a colleague to handle an e-mail message, and there are templates for quick responses, such as "good idea" and "when do you need this?"

    Both Dispatch and Boxer cost US$4.99 and are available worldwide.

    Meanwhile, Boomerang allows users to defer messages until later, schedule messages to be sent at a particular time, and track responses. The free app works only with Gmail.