Inky Gains a Sudden Surge in Popularity

After being featured on TechCrunch as well as being tweeted by our fellow sister site MacTuts, it seems that Inky has enjoyed an unexpected surge of interest this week, despite having been around since May of this year. The interest was generated after a random post on Hacker News generated a fair bit of chatter among users and gave the app a fair bit of attention – something that the Maryland-based developers certainly weren’t expecting as they’ve never really actively sought out press coverage before.

Inky promises to reinvent email – and this time it’s for good (none of those wishy-washy promises like from other companies) – and any company or software product that promises that instantly grabs my attention. So I thought it worth to take a quick look at Inky (it’s currently in the public beta stage at the moment) to see what all the fuss is about.

I, for one, hate doing e-mail and it is something that I see as a daily chore. If you don’t keep on top of your e-mail then it simply gets out of hand, but Inky does try to be different. It integrates nicely with all your existing e-mail accounts (almost any IMAP or POP account is supported) and thanks to the comprehensive account discovery engine, you don’t have to mess around scouting out port numbers.

Inky Main

The main screen of Inky, showing your message options on the left (compose new message, Contacts etc) and your message on the right.

Once you’re in, Inky then tries to automatically sort your message via relevance and gives it a teardrop icon – the bluer the icon the more relevant your message is. This is great for people who gets loads of e-mail in each day or use, say, one e-mail account for everything (newsletters, personal communication and so on) – Inky will let you focus on the more important mail first (you can sort mail by relevance) then concentrate on the less important stuff later. So, any frequent contacts and pressing issues appear at the top with a dark blue teardrop and any spam or irrelevant messages fall to the bottom of the pile.

Inky Importance

If Inky doesn’t get the importance of your message right, you can change it for each individual message.

Inky uses an automatic system to categorise your mail but sometimes gets it wrong slightly (important mail that was sent to me was marked “of little importance”) however you can always change this individually per message – Inky will remember your choice for next time.

Inky Smart Icons

Each message can also be automatically assigned “smart icons”, helping you get through your inbox easier.

Inky can also assign so-called “smart icons” to your mail which allow you to perform certain actions on it based on the content of the message. Each message gets a “teardrop”, like we saw above, but newsletters, for example, get an automatic unsubscribe button – so if you no longer want to receive it you simply click on the icon – no more searching around for the “Unsubscribe me” link (which is often, from experience anyway, buried down at the bottom among the terms and conditions in size 4 font).

It also works for other things, such as street addresses package tracking and limited-time offers and messages can be assigned multiple smart icons. Not only do they help you filter out important mail but they also let you get through your e-mail quicker – very handy if you’ve got a massive amount to deal with each day.

Inky seems to be doing what most people want – a different way of getting through e-mail and although its approach isn’t life-changing, it certainly makes communicating a bit more fun. At the moment, the app is in public beta status (there’s even a Windows version) but Inky, to me, seems like something to keep an eye on, which we will be doing.

In the meantime, go ahead and grab the Mac version from their website (direct download link) and let us know what you think of it in the comments section below!