Mailbox launches iPad app and says Android is in the works

If you were an avid user of the popular email app Mailbox and were worried by the company’s acquisition by Dropbox, never fear. Mailbox isn’t slowing down or turning away from email, as evidenced by Thursday’s launch of the new Mailbox for iPad app and word that an app for Android is in the works.

Mailbox for iPad is the first new product from the company since its Dropbox acquisition, which Om’s sources put above $50 million and potentially closer to $100 million. No matter the exact price tag, it was a significiant deal for the small company, and CEO Gentry Underwood said the transition to working within Dropbox has been remarkably smooth.

mailbox ipad app 2 screenshotThe new iPad app will look pretty similar to the existing iPhone app, with a few minor changes to account for the larger screen. Underwood said designing for the iPad is actually a significant challenge, since if you look at it one way it’s an overzized mobile phone, and another way it’s a small computer. Figuring out how to accomodate for the size of the keyboard (or wireless external keyboards), as well as not overcrowding the screen, is tricky.

“We’re trying to create an experience that’s as consistent as possible, that doesn’t misuse all that extra space,” he said, noting that it would be easy to see the larger size of the tablet and cram it with features. “And sometimes it’s like a luxury-sized mobile device and sometimes it’s a desktop replacement.”

Seemingly as soon as Mailbox launched, users were clamoring to download the app, which limited signups and put most people on a reservation list. The full app finally launched to everyone and Mailbox removed the signup list last month. At that point, it was delivering more than 100 million messages a day, and while Underwood said they are reluctant to continue releasing numbers, he said the growth remains strong, and that 40 percent of users hit inbox zero every week.

Mailbox for iPhone and iPad are available in the Apple iTunes store, and a full review of the iPhone app can be found on the GigaOM Pro blog.

Underwood said the company is working on an Android app (the iPad app was in the works before the acquisition), but he wouldn’t say when Android would launch. The company decided to go with iPad first since it was an often-requested feature, and because much of the code was the same for iPad, even if it presented new design challenges, whereas Android would be something of the opposite.

“There’s always this constant tension between, ‘This is great,’ and ‘Oh, there’s so much more we want to do.'”