Responsive emails = fluid grids, fluid media and media queries. The idea being where @media isn’t supported, you can fallback on a fluid layout. As fluid layouts pose issues on some desktop email clients, alternatively you can fallback to a fixed-width mobile template. I tested media queries in our device lab, I’ll update the chart as I add new clients.
|media query support|
|iPhone native Mail client||Yes|
|iPhone Mailbox app||Yes|
|iPhone Gmail app||No|
|iPhone Sparrow app||Yes|
|iPhone Outlook app||Yes|
|iPhone Boxer app||Yes|
|iPhone Yahoo! Mail app||No|
|iPad native client||Yes|
|iPod native client||Yes|
|iPhone Inbox Google||No|
|Android 2.1 Eclair native client||No|
|Android 2.2 Froyo native client||Yes|
|Android 2.3 Gingerbread native client||Yes|
|Android 4.0 Ice Creme Sandwich native client||Yes|
|Android 4.1, 4.2 + 4.3 Jelly bean native client||Yes|
|Android 4.4 KitKat||Yes|
|Inbox Google Android||No|
|Android Outlook Exchange via native client||No|
|Android Outlook.com app (including Hotmail)||Yes|
|Android Gmail app||No|
|Android Yahoo Mail app 1.4.6 & 2.0||No|
|Microsoft Surface tablet (Outlook.com/Hotmail)||Yes|
|Windows Mobile 6.1||No|
|Windows Phone 7||No|
|Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)||Yes|
|Windows Phone 8||No|
|BlackBerry OS 5||No|
|BlackBerry OS 7||Yes|
|Palm webOS 4.5||Yes|
|Original Kindle Fire + HD (New vr. of Silk) native client||Yes|
|Good.com Mail app||Yes|
|Sony PlayStation Vita game console (Gmail)||Yes|
|Alto Mail app||No|
You need to know how many users are on each platform version to get the full picture. For instance ~96% of Android users are on version 2.2 and up. Which means they’ll get the mobile layout if using the native client. 28% of BlackBerry users are using OS 7 according to this chart.
I can’t find recent Windows Phone stats, though Microsoft has been aggressively pushing 7.5 upgrades. Since May 2012, they’ve been preventing version 7 users from downloading apps from the Marketplace. The post also states, “Most phones are already running Windows Phone 7.5″.
While there are grey areas - like how many Gmail app users we have - iOS, BB and Android all support responsive email design in their latest platform versions.
Update: we’ve had mixed reports on WP8 support, while we own a WP7 and WP7.5 we don’t have a WP8 phone so haven’t been able to confirm this ourselves.