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Review: Empower HTML Viewer Pro Edition

Empower HTML Email Viewer
By Ryan Blundell on 30 Jan 2008 09:35 am EST
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If you are searching for an alternative to viewing email on your BlackBerry, Empower's HTML Viewer Pro edition should definitely be considered. It only seemed to be a short while ago when this was available in Beta, my how time flies. If you are like me, you would agree that not being able to view HTML emails on your BB natively is a bit of a nuisance. Not all emails are simple conversations consisting solely of text. You want color, you want images, you want the full package. And while this is a feature RIM is most certainly working on to one day ship standard on all BlackBerrys, in the meantime we are still in the HTML email dark... but there is a solution here today. Consider Empower HTML Email Viewer your light at the end of the tunnel.

Overview
There are a few different programs out there that allow HTML viewing, but Empower seems to be one of the front runners along with BBSmart's Email Viewer. I base this on stability, speed and ease of use. I’ve been running Empower's Email Viewer for less than a week and I already don’t see myself going back to BlackBerry's butchered text-only email viewing.

There are two different versions of Empower Available: PRO and Standard. For this review, I will be using the PRO Version (v 3.0.66.7 to be exact). The Standard version will display images in emails and do the basics (i.e. smileys) with support provided up to OS 4.2.1, while the Pro Edition also has advanced features like Faster speeds, PIM Integration, Image Cache, PocketDay Integration, System fonts, Autoupdate notification, support for OS 4.3 and many more customization options. Before downloading either, be sure to refer to the OS Minimum Requirements.

Empower Pro

Seeing is Believing
For comparison, why don’t we look at the difference between your basic view of an HTML email and the email viewed with Empower HTML Email Viewer PRO.

Below is an example of the CrackBerry Newsletter as, in my opinion, a futile rendering of an HTML. No images, just a confusing layout of text and links. I love my BlackBerry, but emails like this can be compared to a train wreck. You don’t want to look at the mess, but you can’t seem to take your eyes off of it.

Berry View
Looks more like an eye chart rather than an email

Now take a look at the same email as displayed with Empower. A much better layout don’t you think? Links are now displayed as text, making the email much easier to read.

Empower View
My eyes have seen the glory…

There's still room for improvement - the same CrackBerry Newsletter on your desktop computer (via Outlook or Gmail) will look like this,  but it's still one heck of a lot better than the default BlackBerry email viewer.

Updates
Recently Empower released an update which should come as a warm welcome for WiFi capable BB users. The following are some of the features included in the updated Pro Version:

  • WiFi Connectivity!! Download images and auto-update over WiFi. (for WiFi enabled devices)
  • Apply different colors to the Header and Body for each email account. Easily see which email account it’s sent to.
  • Choose between a short or full header. You decide how much info you need to know.
  • Auto-Expand Attachments. These are shown just under the header.
  • Allows for both device memory and SC Card cache support.
  • Keep up with the Jones’s with Empower Auto Update notification.
  • Shows Signatures and replies in a different color than the body.
  • Add Task or Appointment. You can easily add your message to your Task or Calendar. With the update, the default reminder automatically sets to 15 minutes. The reminder had to be set manually every time in the previous version.
  • Smileys!! Utilize smiley images. False positives for Smileys are now removed.
  • Multiple image options; cache and “Prefetch” your images for faster access. You can even load your images “On Demand” (email by email)
  • Strict/Lenient URL Parsing. This allows {} and such in urls which are normally not allowed.
  • There are many more features, but my hands are starting to cramp.

A big benefit to this app is that future updates to owners are available free of charge. When downloaded from ShopCrackBerry's software store, owners will receive an email if and when updated versions become available.

ScreenShots

The following screenshots show some of the many customizable features offered by the Empower HTML Viewer Pro Edition: 

Add to Task
Add your emails to your tasks 
Add to Calendar Caption
Add to your calendar and easily
manage appointments and events

Setting Up Different Colors
A different color per account helps to distinguish
where the email account is being used.
Keep your Work email on Red.

Comparisons, Questions, Opinions
Empower's HTML Viewer and BBSmart's Email Viewer are two of the most downloaded applications from the ShopCrackBerry.com software store as well as two of the most talked about applications in the CrackBerry forums. For even more insight into this app, I'd recommend doing a Search for "Empower HTML".

Conclusion
Though HTML email viewing does require more data usage, due to the fact you are now downloading images, I am quite pleased with how Empower HTML Email Viewer works. Emails load up as fast as they would in normal view. You can configure it with ease, as the options menu is very user friendly. We all know that fast and efficient communication is a must in this day and age. Empower makes our BlackBerry lives just a little bit easier. Download the free trial and see for yourself. Empower HTML Email Viewer Pro and Standard are available at the ShopCrackBerry.com Software Store for $29.99.

Links:

Reader comments

Review: Empower HTML Viewer Pro Edition

8 Comments

I've been on the program since standard was beta, and I have to say that PRO is a hell of a setup. I feel like standard is still in Beta (no offense Ani. Just feel that pro should be THE only version). I love this program and it is my favorite 3rd party app. I consistently receive e-mails and its awesome to have that extra Empower to organize them the way you can. The speed is incredible and the image cache to the memory card is awesome. I don't have to worry about the memory on my curve getting filled with images (we all know how little memory we have on our BB's, especially if your app happy ;)). I could say more , but I'll leave it for the forums...it's not perfect, as I do have some gripes, but over all its an awesome app and one you should not be without.

Downloaded the pro trial version....WOW!! Its good, it really makes the email come alive and make sense.

This will definitely have to be purchased.

Does anything else open up when purchased??

Like the MAC i left but then just had to come back to the blackberry. This sure does make my email more friendly on the eyes, thank you for running that kick ass promo. Now I have marketed to all my other new found berrys (again, treo =bad) and they also love this app.

Just don't ask for any support - Empower didn't install correctly when I bought the software and it took over 5 months to get any form of response. By then I'd given up and moved on...

I have a bb curve 8330 on Sprint and I purchased the Pro Version of empower Mail Viewer for $29.99. Why does it this app claim to be full html viewer when I can only see usually one or two images in the email from paypal, ebay, my bank, my phone bill etc? How can i get this thing to show the emails like it did on my palm?