Email clients as cars – a comparison

For people outside the email industry it is often hard to understand what kind of frustration email marketers run into when dealing with a broad range of email clients. After all the email clients are where the money is made or lost: the podium of their hard work for and with customers.
These days there is a big variation in functionality and type of email clients: there’s webmail clients like Hotmail and GMail, offline clients like Outlook 20xx and Windows Mail, and then there’s the more niche clients like Thunderbird and Android.
To make the interesting, diverse and sometimes frustrating world of an email marketer a bit clearer I’ve decided to post a comparison of email clients to cars. Everyone knows and loves cars, so this should be easy, right? Here goes:
 1. Outlook 2007 / 2010:
Sorry Microsoft, but if your email client doesn’t even do basic html and/or css stuff, you’re back in the stone age of the industry. Therefor Outlook 2007/2010 is a Ford model T.

2. iOS email client (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch):
The iOS (Apple) email client currently are some of the best email clients in the industry. Supporting just about anything you throw at it, it’s both lightweight and versatile.
A striped with and blue car it is:

3. Hotmail
Being one of the biggest webmail clients comes with a lot of pressure to perform. Luckily Hotmail doesn’t go about things lightly, and with HTML5 support on board it is currently one of the most modern email clients out there. It does have some niggles though, even though there are only a few. Modern and still niggles? It must be Italian. Alfa Romeo Giulietta it is:

4. Apple Mail
Just like it’s mobile sibling from the iOS platform, Apple Mail performs nearly flawless when it comes to email. An elegant and good looking email client, also being one of the first with built-in HTML5 support. Hmm, industry firsts, good looking, allround? Mercedes S500!

5. Yahoo! Mail
At nearly 10% of the email client market Yahoo! Mail is just behind Hotmail in terms of market share. Recently it has been updated with new features and more, but some users have been complaining on wobbly email accounts and erratic behaviour. A Toyota Corolla:

6. GMail
GMail is one of the more serious clients out there: email for the power users, so to speak. With many funky Labs features it has cutting edge email features too. However, even by 2011 it is still not up to par: it doesn’t even support css classes which is a big pity. Honda Civic:

As you can see I have left out a few clients like Android, Windows Mail, Thunderbird and such: those clients have less than 2% of the market share, according to the June 2011 Campaign Monitor stats – maybe for another time.
Hopefully this (not too serious) comparison gives some insight for the non-email crowd, and entertainment for those who are in email marketing. Of course, feel free to post your own email client <> car comparison in the comments or on the social networks!

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