Evolution does that for Linux, but Thunderbird falls short of the much needed integration. This is where SpiceBird comes in. SpiceBird is built on top of Mozilla’s offerings so you will feel at home if you have been using Thunderbird. SpiceBird also brings much more to the table when compared to Thunderbird, as you shall see.
You can download and install SpiceBird here for both Windows and Linux. The installer is around 12MB in size and installs in a snap. Once installed, fire it up and you will see a tabbed interface. The various tabs give you access to all the features SpiceBird has to offer. This is in contrast to Thunderbird where the tabs don’t quite feel they have been utilized to the fullest out of the box.
Let’s briefly look at the various tabs (and thus the features) of SpiceBird.
The Home Tab
The home tab is a lot like your iGoogle page. You can add and manage tiny widgets to it. These widgets can be used to display a preview of your inbox(es) or time in different zones or you can use them to keep up with your favorite RSS feeds.
You can display upcoming tasks or add one of the many iGoogle gadgets available out there. The possibilities are almost limitless and you can add just about any gadget you have on your iGoogle page to the home tab.
Click on Add Applets in the tool bar and then choose Google Gadget. Now, copy the address of the iGoogle Gadget from the gadget’s description and paste it on the page. This should load the gadget in your SpiceBird home tab.
You can drag and drop widgets onto the page and arrange them to your liking. What’s also nice is the fact that SpiceBird picks up your default system theme and tries to mimic it.
The Inbox Tab
The dialog seems familiar? Yes, it is the same you get when you configure a new account with Thunderbird. The Inbox tab will seem familiar to most Thunderbird users. It looks and functions the same as well.
You can configure your mail accounts, which will appear on the left side. You can open an e-mail in a new tab or new window if you prefer. In addition you will find that you can use most of Thunderbird’s functionality out of the box with SpiceBird.
Contacts, Calendar & Tasks Tab
We can safely group these together under one header as they all work as you would expect any contacts or calendar application to work. You can add your chat accounts in the Contacts tab and use them to manage and store your contacts.
The Calendar provides standard functionality without the Google Calendar sync which is a big blow. You can still import and export iCal files if that suffices for you.
You can also create tasks inside the tasks tab, set task priorities, categorize them as you see fit and even mark the progress on your tasks.
All in all SpiceBird works well and does a good job of providing a single interface for tasks that you need to perform daily. The tabbed interface to track your tasks, calendar and emails all in one application is a big plus. The ability to add Google Gadgets to the start page is awesome.
That being said, it’s not all praises for SpiceBird.
The application would gain immense popularity if they can offer sync with popular services like Google Calendar and Remember the Milk. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if this is indeed preventing users from adopting SpiceBird as their default application. Also there is a lot of scope for improvement with regards to integration between all the features that SpiceBird provides. I could view my tasks, events and mail on the homepage, but I had to toil around to add an event to the mail.
How do you like your e-mail clients? All in one solutions or plain simple email goodness? We would love to hear your thoughts.