A port of the popular desktop email client Thunderbird just landed in the Microsoft Store. Windows 10 users may download and install the store-version of the mail client on their devices.
The Thunderbird port supports all major features of the email client including managing multiple email accounts, support for Pop3 and IMAP, RSS and calendar support, and contact management.
Installation is straightforward as it is just a matter of hitting the "get" and then the "install" button to install the Store version of the email client on the Windows 10 device.
The application looks and feels identical to the Win32 version; it opens a setup screen on first launch to add an email account or create a new one. From there, it is business as usual.
The Store version has been published by Store Ports, an initiative that pushes Win32 applications like Thunderbird to the Microsoft Store.
Popular applications like VLC Media Player have a Store version as well. Unlike the Thunderbird port, VLC is maintained by parent company Videolan.
The Win32 version and the Store version of Thunderbird have the same functionality but the Store version is limited to devices running Windows 10.
As far as advantages are concerned, there is only one real advantage, and it applies only to a distinct group of devices that run the Windows 10 S edition of the Windows 10 operating system.
The Store version may appeal to Microsoft customers who run devices with Windows 10 S, a limited version of Windows that does not run Win32 applications. The only option to run Thunderbird on Windows 10 S devices is to install the Store version; it is possible, however, to convert Windows 10 S to a full version of Windows.
One of the downsides is that Thunderbird is not maintained by the Thunderbird team but by a third-party. The Store version is open source and it is theoretically possible to verify the code and compile it to make sure it is clean.
Another downside is that it is not possible to use a portable version of Thunderbird; the Store version needs to be installed and cannot just be put on a removable storage device for portable use.
Last but not least, the Thunderbird Store port is only available in English and not in other languages.
The Thunderbird Microsoft Store port is a third-party port that brings the email client to the Store. May be useful to users of Windows 10 S but most users of regular versions of Windows 10 may prefer the original version of Thunderbird instead as it is maintained by the Thunderbird project team and available as a portable version as well.
The Store version may work for some, but it remains to be seen how fast updates are pushed out to keep track with the development of the email client.
Microsoft Store does not protect 100% against malicious or problematic applications, and Microsoft's recent announcement to introduce UWP-only options to Win32 applications suggests that the UWP format is not very high on Microsoft's priority list anymore. UWP, the Universal Windows Platform, is the platform for Store applications.
An official port could gain some traction as it is more trustworthy automatically than a third-party port. Still, it is probably not worth the effort at this point in time and it is questionable if it ever will be in the future.
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