Mozilla Messaging has released their first milestone preview of Thunderbird 3, the Mozilla-based email client:

Thunderbird 3 Beta 1 is now available for download. This milestone is focused on testing the core functionality of the new features and platform changes that will be included in Thunderbird 3. Thunderbird 3 Beta 1 includes new database technology that will make it possible to build fast new ways of navigating mail. For more background and for previews of experimental add-ons, visit this blog post.

New features and changes in this milestone that require feedback include:

  • Tab interface for Mail
  • Improvements to IMAP for faster message viewing
  • Improved message reader view
  • New Add-ons Manager
  • Improved Address Book interface
  • Improved import of mail from other Mail clients
  • Integration with Windows Vista search
  • Integration with Mac OS X Address Book

Mozilla Messaging’s David Ascher has some more information as well:

In some ways, this is a typical beta — we’ve changed a lot of code since Thunderbird 2, and we need a lot of people to tell us if we’ve made any boo-boos when fixing bugs. It’s also a good beta in that we’ve moved the product forward, in part thanks to new capabilities in the underlying Mozilla platform, which gives us faster performance all around, an add-on manager which will be even more useful for Thunderbird users than for Firefox users. We also have important new mail-specific capabilities, including a new “autosync” system that gets Thunderbird to download IMAP message bodies early, so they’re already there when you need them, and a much faster implementation for deleting and moving IMAP messages, which I can’t imagine living without at this point. The one-click add-to-addressbook is also an elegant and shameless ripoff of the Firefox bookmarking model, which our alpha users love.