AOL today announced Alto, a web-based IMAP email client that lets you manage multiple email accounts on one website. "We found that nobody wants another email address," Senior Director of Product for AOL Mail and Alto Joshua Ramirez told The Verge. "People have multiple email addresses, and they want to get it in one spot, so we went back to the drawing board and came up with something we think is game-changing." The web app is available today by invite only, and will launch to the general public in the first quarter of 2013.
Although its utility still remains to be seen — particularly as it's a web-only client — Alto appears to be a fairly innovative, forward-thinking, and well-designed product.
Considering Sparrow is now ostensibly shuttered, I'm keeping a keen eye trained upon the email landscape in a futile attempt to fill the void left by Sparrow. (Well, a void that will be left by Sparrow when I finally gather the courage to move to something more future-proof.) At the moment, as odd as it is to say, Aol's client appears to be one of the most compelling solutions to this problem.
The initial response from The Verge, amongst others, seems to suggest that Alto is passable in its current state, but that's more than enough for me to be at least somewhat hopeful for its future.
To sign up for more information, visit Alto.