Tech Review: Beyond stock email apps

Apps that help users stay connected. Apps that help users stay connected. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images

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All Android and iOS devices include a built-in email program. Configure it with your account information, and you're good to go. But perhaps you could go further. These third-party programs offer features and functionality not found in stock email apps.

Mailbox

(iOS, free)

Apple's new iOS 7 operating system gave its stock email app a makeover, but many still prefer using the stylish Mailbox instead. The app allows quick sorting and deleting of emails by swiping them, making clearing overstuffed inboxes a little faster. If you're unsure whether an email is an important message or annoying spam, you can mark it to look at later. Earlier this year, Mailbox was bought by Dropbox, the popular cloud-storage app maker.

K-9 Mail

(Android, free)

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This extremely popular app (more than 5 million installations) makes juggling numerous email accounts easy. You can browse by account or see all emails in a "unified" mailbox, where each message is color-coded by account. There is an enormous number of configurations, so you can customize the app to your liking. The recently updated version includes a widget that puts icons on your home screen with the number of new emails you have waiting in each account.

Aqua Mail

(Android, free)

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Aqua Mail adds a number of features not found in most stock Android email apps, and it is easy to set up because it intuitively recognizes most email accounts and their server configurations. But the free version has limitations. It supports only two email accounts, and perhaps most annoying, it affixes an automatic "promo signature" to your email that says it was "Sent With Aqua Mail for Android." The Pro version ($4.95) removes the limitations.

Triage

(iOS, $4.99)

For many, sorting through email has become drudgery. Triage, which calls itself "first aid for your inbox," won't make the task fun, but it will at least make it quicker and more visually appealing. The app works in conjunction with your regular email app to display your inbox as a stack of cards. By flicking a card, you can quickly save, mark as read or delete the email.

 

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Tech Bytes

 

Google tests 'smart' contact lens

Google isworking on a contact lens that can help diabetics measure glucose levels without the pain and stress of drawing blood. The "smart" lens calculates blood-sugar levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and glucose sensor. Google notes it is still in the "early days for this technology" but hopes the lenses will someday help diabetics better manage their disease.

Worst password?

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The Internet's worst password is no longer "password." Internet security firm SplashData's annual list of the most common -- and therefore worst -- Internet passwords shows "password" was 2013's second-most used password. The new No. 1 worst: "123456." Rounding out the top five worst passwords were "12345678," "qwerty" and "abc123." "Password" had been No. 1 since SplashData began making annual lists in 2011.

LinkedIn adds volunteer jobs

Many people use LinkedIn to find a better-paying job. But the networking site can now help users find jobs that pay nothing but are priceless in the value they bring. LinkedIn for Volunteers (volunteer.linkedin.com) has opportunities at a wide range of nonprofits where professionals can share their skills. LinkedIn said a survey of its members showed 82 percent wanted to volunteer their time.

-- PETER KING

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