"The 'email is dead' spin has been around for a few years, but it's poppycock. The traditional functions of email, messaging and calendaring are becoming part of a broader suite that's inherently social," he said.
However, once Mail Next comes out, the question will be how users will receive it, since it will likely require an adjustment and learning of a modified user experience, Koplowitz said.
Industry analyst Michael Osterman from Osterman Research had a chance to view a demo of Mail Next and offered up some suggestions for improving the user interface in a blog post, but is generally positive about what he saw.
"Depending on the way you look at it, this is either the next generation of email that integrates with social business capabilities, or it's social business that more tightly integrates with email," Osterman wrote. "I view it as more of the former -- a realization that email is central to the way that people work, but with some interesting social capabilities, task management and other functions integrated into the interface."
IBM made the announcements at its Connect 2014 conference held this week in Orlando.
Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.