Thunderbird for Android Is Delayed, but You Can Test It Now

The revival of Mozilla Thunderbird was accompanied by an unexpected announcement—instead of building a mobile app from scratch, Mozilla will convert K-9 Mail into Thunderbird for Android. Unfortunately, Thunderbird for Android’s late-2023 launch has drifted a few months behind schedule.

Before kicking off Thunderbird for Android’s development, the Mozilla team compiled a list of new features they wanted to implement. It was a fairly long list, but Mozilla pruned some of its ideas in order to reach the 2023 deadline. Now, we’re looking at an “early 2024” launch, so Mozilla will go ahead with the full set of features that it originally promised. “There’s no rush,” says Mozilla.

This is disappointing news for Thunderbird fans. But if you’re really desperate, it’s not a big deal. The K-9 Mail app may still be named “K-9 Mail,” but it contains all the new Thunderbird features that have been completed by Mozilla. You can now swipe between a folder’s messages in K-9 Mail, and new OAuth support ensures that K-9 Mail will properly interact with providers like Outlook and Gmail.

If you want to see Thunderbird for Android features that are not completed, just download the K-9 Mail app beta. It’s got some bugs, but it contains the visual and functional changes that will eventually appear in Thunderbird’s mobile app. You can also follow Thunderbird for Android’s development on GitHub, and Mozilla regularly publishes a “progress report” of new features, bugs, and ideas for the app.

And, if you fall in love with K-9 Mail, you can continue using it after Thunderbird for Android’s launch. Mozilla says that both apps will be listed on the Google Play Store—functionally, K-9 Mail and Thunderbird will be identical, but they’ll have different app icons and color schemes. That said, it wouldn’t be surprising if Mozilla eventually ditches this idea and simply offers a “K-9 Mail Mode” for the Thunderbird app.

The stable and beta versions of K-9 Mail are available via the Google Play Store, F-Droid, and GitHub. Mozilla hasn’t commented on Thunderbird for iOS, which has never had a concrete release date. Presumably, Thunderbird for iOS will enter development after the Android app’s launch.

Source: Mozilla


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