As well as vigorously battling to become the dominant provider of Web browsing software, Microsoft is also looking to compete strongly in the e-mail client market, with Outlook 97 and now Outlook 98. But it won’t have a particularly easy ride, as Qualcomm, whose Eudora mail package is, according to the company, used by more than 18 million people world-wide, has just launched this latest package, designed to improve the features and ease of use of its flagship mail client.
Designed with both Internet and Intranet users in mind, Eudora Pro 4.0 includes support for all the current mail technologies, and some of the emerging ones, too. These include POP3, SMTP, Ph, ACAP, LDAP, Finger and plenty of other acronyms that will, for the most part, mean very little to end users. Not that it really matters, since this package is a breeze to install. You’ll need to know the usual things, such as your mail host, account name, password, and so on, but once that’s all done you can immediately get to grips with sending and receiving mail messages.
One reason for the speed with which new users learn how to use Eudora Pro 4.0 is its interface, which is one of the most logical we’ve seen. The In box and Out box can be either docked or left ‘floating’, there’s a mail previewing window that lets you view messages without opening them, the choice of menu layouts and icons along the top panel is highly intuitive, and simple tabs take you directly to the dialogue box you’re looking for. If you don’t like the interface, you can completely customise it. Even mail attachments are made easy; just open the relevant window and drag and drop the required file or files into your message. They will then be encoded and sent, using MIME, UU-Encode or BinHex, depending on your choice. There are some other nice features here, too, such as the ability to handle multiple e-mail accounts and address books, install filters to automate the handling of some types of message, and create templates which can be used again and again as the basis of new messages.
Plug-ins bundled with Eudora Pro 4.0 include PureVoice, which lets you record and send high-quality audio messages via e-mail. Other plug-ins can be added at a later date, if required. The installation CDROM also includes a cut-down version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 4.0. Initially this seems like rather a strange addition, but in fact it is required if you want to view some types of HTML e-mail (where pure text messages are interspersed with HTML and images, just like a Web page). Eudora Pro 4.0 can handle HTML e-mail, but not all file types (such as GIF images, for example) are supported, so for that you may need to use IE4.0.
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