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An email client, email reader, or more formally mail user agent (MUA), is a computer program used to manage a user's email.
The term can refer to any system capable of accessing the user's email mailbox, regardless of it being a mail user agent, a relaying server, or a human typing on a terminal. In addition, a web application that provides message management, composition, and reception functions is sometimes also considered an email client, but more commonly referred to as webmail.
In addition to the fat client email clients and small email clients, there are also Web-based email applications called webmail. Webmail has several advantages, including an ability to send and receive email away from the user's normal base using a web browser, thus eliminating the need for an email client.
The term Webmail (or Web-based e-mail) is used to describe two things. One use of the word is to describe a Webmail client: an email client implemented as a web application accessed via a web browser. This article focuses in this use of the term. The other use of the word is to describe an email service offered through a web site (a webmail provider) such as Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, and AOL Mail;. Practically every webmail provider offers email access using a webmail client, and many of them also offer email access by a desktop email client using standard email protocols, while many internet service providers provide a webmail client as part of the email service included in their internet service package. As with any web application, webmail's main advantage over the use of a desktop email client is the ability to send and receive email wherever there's a web browser. Its main disadvantage is the need to be connected to the internet while using it (Gmail offers offline use of its webmail client through the installation of Gears).
And now, you the members of this forum have spoken. Here are the top 4 E-Mail Clients for the 2011 Member Choice awards.
(These represent about 290 votes of the total of approximately 372 voters.)
First Place: GMail (either POP or IMAP or Web-based) with 85 votes cast.
Second Place: Any Version of Outlook with 75 votes cast.
Third Place: Thunderbird with 60 votes cast.
Fourth Place: A surprise here, a tie for 4th place between Yahoo (either POP or IMAP or Web-based) and Your ISP Web Mail with 30 votes cast apiece.
Click here to view the list of contenders for this year's poll.
The big change to this year's poll as opposed to the 2009 poll was GMail overtaking Thunderbird at the top of the email client list and Thunderbird's fall to third place behind second place Outlook.
Of the approximate 1238 lookers, only 372 or so voted in this years poll.
To those that took the time to vote, we here at the Software Forum thank you.
We'll see all of you in the next poll.