Shortmail combines email and Twitter to offer users a concise, unique way to send and receive email messages. The application limits all messages to 500 characters (much like Twitter limits Tweets to 140 characters). That means the sender must keep their messages focused and avoid adding irrelevant details or unnecessary information. Shortmail sticks with text only, the user cannot add attachments. The application is available for iPhone and Android users and can connect using POP3, IMAP and SMTP formats as well as the Shortmail web interface. Shortmail intends to provide an email solution for users who dislike traditional email applications.
Shortmail was launched in 2011 by 410 Labs. The application was intended to provide a watered down email service that was highly flexible and convenient.
What makes Shortmail so unique is its concise nature. All messages must remain under 500 characters or they cannot be sent or received. The user cannot work with attachments. The application also allows users to hold public conversations by sending a mass message that can be read by anyone.
Shortmail has adopted an interface that is vaguely reminiscent of a Facebook profile. The user gets a snapshot of their mail from their dashboard, which includes the day received, message and the sender’s avatar image and name. The user can also see a list of senders along the left hand side. The mail search bar is conveniently placed at the top of the page. Shortmail uses a very neat, tidy interface that allows the user to navigate through their daily messages quickly. The limitations that make Shortmail appealing to some users may make it unappealing to others. Some users may also find that Shortmail is not convenient because any messages received that go over the 500 character limit are returned to sender with a message requesting a shorter version. This could discourage communication between two people and seems to place an unnecessary limit on messages.
A new user can get started with Shortmail by clicking the blue and white “Claim Your Shortmail Address with Twitter” button at the bottom of the page. The user is directed to the Twitter log in area. The user must have a Twitter account to use Shortmail. The application uses the Twitter handle as the user’s Shortmail address. A note on the FAQ indicates that there are plans to allow users to change their Shortmail address soon. For the time being, the user must link and use their Twitter handle to create a Shortmail account.
Shortmail is available to all users for free. There are no subscription fees or other expenses required to use Shortmail. This is definitely a good thing because Shortmail seems more like a limited, watered down email service. Some users may find it very appealing, and can link their free twitter account when signing up.
Shortmail.com is intended for users who do not like the complications of traditional email. The application keeps things as simple as possible by limiting the number of characters a single message can contain and eliminating the HTML and attachment options offered by most email services. Users who need a highly functional email service should look elsewhere because Shortmail is meant for users who need simplicity.