Rediff Launches RediffMail NG Android App; Issues


Rediff.com has released an Android app for Rediffmail NG, its e-mail service for individuals and small businesses, which would allow Rediffmail users to send and receive e-mail, add contacts, set reminders to the calendar, search for mails, and view and save attachments on their mobile phones (hat tip: @snakeyesV1). While the mobile mail service was initially deployed with MTNL as a paid service, this appears to be an operator agnostic smartphone app based deployment. So Android users will need a separate app just to access their Rediffmail accounts. The app can be downloaded from the Play Store and from Rediffmail’s mobile web site.

We’re clueless as to why Rediff charges an annual fee of Rs 399 for POP access, which enables users to configure their preferred mobile and desktop e-mail clients and automate mail reception. Interestingly, Rediff does not charge extra for POP access on Nokia Mail and BlackBerry. But then, Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Windows Live Mail offer free POP access, so why would a user pay extra for Rediffmail?

Features: The app is essentially a wrapped version of Rediffmail’s mobile interface with mobile optimised controls. The app allows users to read and respond to emails, view and save email attachments, add contacts, set calendar reminders and search through their emails both online and offline. Users can either setup their existing Rediffmail accounts or sign up for a new Rediffmail account.

After entering their credentials, users are redirected to a clean and minimalistic interface, which is divided into three main sections namely Inbox, Write and Calendar. As expected, Inbox lists all the latest emails received on their account and users can tap on any email to read, reply, and forward it. Alternatively, users can also long press on any email to do a variety of email actions like open, move, delete, report as spam, and mark as unread.

Using the Calendar tab, users can view their appointments and set reminders. One can also choose between a daily calendar view or a monthly calendar view.

   

Phonebook Contact Integration: Interestingly, the app features contact integration to the user’s phone book, thereby allowing users to send emails to any email address present in the user’s phone book. Additionally, the app also offers sync between their phone contacts and web contacts.

No Push Email? When we tried the app on an HTC Desire Z and on an HTC One V, we didn’t receive any push notification for incoming emails nor did we receive the mail until we manually refreshed the app, which is quite strange considering that that it is promoted as a push email service. (It should be noted that we had configured the app to keep the sync always on).

Ads: The mail client adds a text ad after the signature, though we noticed that the ads were mostly related to Rediff’s other services including Deals. So we wonder if Rediff’s making any money out of it.

Search? The app offers a keyword based search box, and it does work at times. At other times it returned some errors or was not able to locate the mails.

We also observed that the app does not support multi-tasking, and the user has to reopen the app if he switches to another one.

Rediff has rebranded its email to Rediifmail NG, which was the name that it used to refer to its paid mail service. It now refers to Rediffmail, the mobile version and paid mail. In October 2010, Rediff.com had launched Rediffmail NG in collaboration with MTNL, targeting young entrepreneurs and small businesses who could either setup their own domain email or a rediffmail account. The service was then priced at Rs. 50 per month per user with MTNL, with no additional data charges. RediffMail NG is now available for Rs. 1440 per year for 5 email Addresses with a total 1GB storage space and Rs 200 for every additional email ID.

With inputs from Anupam Saxena


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