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Review: Bee – Composing email on the fly has never been easier

New widget enables iPhone owners to fire off emails from Notification Center

Price: Free
Size: 6.9 MB
Developer: Americos Technologies

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Bee – Email Smart and Fast, a recently released iOS app, provides owners of Apple’s iPhone handset with an easier way of composing new email messages while on the go. It does this, like countless apps before, through deploying a unique widget which sits inside of Notification Center. We’ve indeed seen numerous iOS widget apps launch in the past, like Paste+ and Widget Dial, and some of these have been fairly impressive. However, is Bee worth taking a closer look at or is it just a new iOS app aiming to capitalize on the popularity of Notification Center widgets? Let’s find out.

You can configure Bee's settings from inside of its iOS application. This can be downloaded free of charge.

You can configure Bee’s settings from inside of its free iOS application

The premise of Bee is simple: You download the free, universal iOS app, add a contact (or more) from inside the application itself, enable the Notification Center widget, and you’ll be good to go. Once configured in this way, iPhone owners will be able to swipe down on their handset’s screen in order to navigate to Bee, before using the widget to fire off super-fast emails while on the move.

Composing emails inside of Bee's app is simple: first, you choose a contact ...

Composing emails inside of Bee’s app is simple: first, choose a contact

Bee adopts a simple but effective user interface (UI) in order to make email composition faster than ever. In both the widget and app, iPhone owners first tap to choose a contact for their outgoing email. Then they tap either an image in their iOS Photos library, or may choose to add text into the body of the email using their handset’s virtual keyboard. From here, Bee allows users to send off their message with a third tap, and you can then dismiss Notification Center and return to your iPhone’s Home screen.

... then once you've selected your contact, you can either tap to choose an image or video, or you can add text into the body of your email using the virtual keyboard.

Once the contact’s been selected you can either tap to choose an image or video, or you can add text into the body of the email using the virtual keyboard

Usefully, Bee integrates with the iOS Mail app, and as such users don’t need to re-add individual email accounts when first configuring the app or widget. You can also easily add new contacts in from the iOS Contacts library, although to begin with, you’ll be limited to just one contact in Bee.

Once your email is ready to go, you can send it off -- all from inside of the same interface.

Once the email is ready to go, it can be sent off – all from inside of the same interface

In order to add more than one contact to Bee’s iOS app or widget, you’ll need to make an in-app purchase (IAP) in the application itself. This unlocks unlimited contacts for the price of $1.99 (£1.49). This might seem unfortunate, though of course it provides iPhone owners with a means of trying Bee’s functionality free before committing to a purchase (which importantly supports the app’s developer).

Bee's simple (but effective) Compose widget for Notification Center.

Bee’s simple (but effective) Compose widget for Notification Center

Perhaps best of all, the beauty of Bee is its potential for photo sharing. Because of its UI, it’s remarkably easy for iPhone owners to share images or videos with their favorite contacts. Importantly, the process of sharing pictures using Bee’s widget doesn’t require users to interact with their virtual keyboard in any capacity. For those that often share images with friends and family using email, Bee will be(e) a great addition to your iPhone handset.

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