SAN FRANCISCO (08/01/2000) - Eudora, the venerable e-mail reader from Qualcomm Inc., enters its fifth generation with the release of a beta version of an update adding an innovative group file-sharing feature, support for Palm Inc. devices, and an amusing flame detector that rates the contents of your mail on a scale of 0 to 3 chili peppers.
A public beta of Eudora 5.0 - the first significant upgrade since version 4.2 a year ago - is available now on the Eudora Web site.
Version 5's headliner innovation is the Eudora Sharing Protocol. It lets users define workgroups by inviting contacts in their address book, associating a file folder with a workgroup, and then automatically synchronizing the contents of the folder with those of similar folders on workgroup members' PCs. So, for example, you could put the draft of a contract into a workgroup folder and it would automatically transfer the draft to the folders of all workgroup members.
This should make documents easier to find than they would be if distributed as e-mail attachments. All attachments are put into Eudora's Attach folder, and can be difficult to track down as that file gets huge over time.
The new Moodwatch feature uses artificial intelligence to analyze the language in an e-mail message; the chili pepper rating appears on the Eudora toolbar.
You can use this feature on incoming as well as outgoing mail (presumably to avoid reading a lot of unpleasant material) or turn it off entirely.
The Palm support, via version 2.0 of the Eudora Internet Suite, lets you synchronize with your existing POP3 account and display HTML formatted messages on a Palm. It also has a built-in browser that can handle most Web sites, and supports multiple e-mail accounts (including via wireless or wired modem).
Commercial release of the shipping version is expected in August or September.
As with the most recent releases of the 4.x series, Eudora will continue to be offered in three modes: a light version with limited features, an ad-supported, full-featured version; and a US$49.95 full-featured version ($39.95 if purchased online, $10 rebate coupon in the boxed version) with no ads.