Something to look forward to: Mozilla’s Thunderbird has long been one of the best email clients for people who value open-source software and privacy, but it’s only available for desktop users. Luckily, that’s about to change. Thanks to a (kind of) merger between Mozilla’s client and the K-9 Mail app, Thunderbird will soon be coming to Android devices.
If you are wondering what is K-9 Mail, it is another open source email client like Thunderbird. While it does not state privacy as one of its key features, it does include several others – support for push IMAP, white and dark themes, message flagging, and ‘multiple identities’ installed for email accounts. The ability to do something, to name a few.
As to why Thunderbird is now absorbing K-9 mail – seemingly out of the blue – it turns out that these plans were in motion years ago. Way back in 2018, actually. At the time, Thunderbird product manager Ryan Lee Sips met with K-9 project maintainer Christian Ketterer to discuss the collaboration between K-9 and Thunderbird. Those talks eventually evolved into a more robust discussion of how two separate projects could join forces to create “a great, seamless email experience across the platform.”
For Caterer and Sips, this doesn’t mean jointly developing an entirely new mobile client — but instead turning its collective focus to Thunderbird.
As such, as expected in the not-too-distant future, the K-9 will turn into Thunderbird’s Android client. The branding will change, and both the aesthetic and featureset will be tweaked to match Thunderbird’s desktop counterpart.
It will certainly take a lot of hard work for the Thunderbird team and the K-9 contributors to make it to that point. However, now that Caterer has joined the Thunderbird crew full-time, the transition should be a little easier. At any rate, we can’t wait to see Thunderbird make the leap to Android, and we expect it to happen sooner rather than later.