Back in 2004, before Gmail popularized these features, TeamMail developed an e-mail prototype that includes real-time conversation, and task management into the inbox.
TeamMail users share documents and conversations all within the body of a single, dynamically updated email message. TeamMail users get less email, because all related conversations are channeled into the email they already have. In addition, they only have to look in a single place for any documents related to those shared tasks.
TeamMail was developed as a Capstone Project for the Master's degree in Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon. For more information, see the project website:
The TeamMail project was sponsored by Sun Microsystems (now Oracle), and Managed by Frank Ludolph, who pioneered the user interface with the Apple Lisa:
The TeamMail team includes
Patrick Barry, blog.patrickbarry.com/
Scott Davidoff, http://scottdavidoff.com/research
Cary Evans, http://www.matterdaddy.com
Evangeline Haughney, http://www.evangelinehaughney.com/
Naotake Kakehi, http://www.hcii.cmu.edu/M-HCI/2004/sun/bios.htm