One of the most underrated email plugins is Xobni, the Outlook plugin enhancement that adds some much-needed fantastic features for office professionals. Xobni (inbox spelled backwards) creates an information profile for every person you interact with and displays information that is directly related to what you are working with right now – including threaded conversations, attachments, related people, email statistics and so on.
As with many plug-in tools Xobni has so far only been available as a download purchase but the company believes they are seeing enough demand to put their product on shelves, in a box. This is quite a shift for a plugin tool starting life as an internet start-up and goes to show how a well-developed plugin can become a mainstream product. The shift is especially interesting from a business perspective – clearly the goal is a matter of outreach as Xobni tries to puts its product on a shelf right next to Outlook 2010.
A second point is the way in which Xobni-in-a-box bypasses the free version, available online, which already contains a big chunk of the useful features of the Xobni plug-in which discourages some people from buying the more advanced version. Then there’s the simple matter that many people prefer to buy a physical product even if it is exactly the same as the online version. Xobni believes 80% of its users would be at least somewhat likely to purchase the product in a retail store.
Outlook 2010 includes a number of features of the free version of Xobni and the question is whether the developers at Xobni will be able to stay far enough ahead of the curve to make their plugin a worthwhile purchase – their plans to put their product next to Outlook 2010 shows a degree of confidence. Nonetheless Xobni’s translation to a packaged product is good news for hard working plugin developers.