Starting today, people living in San Francisco have an opportunity to never handle another piece of "real" mail again. Outbox is an Austin, Texas-based company that has figured out a way to digitize all of that snail mail and present it to you in a virtual mailbox on your computer, iPad, or iPhone (free app).
The service, which is provided for US$4.99 per month (first month is free), collects your physical mail three times a week, then scans it in a secured warehouse. You're notified that you have new mail in your mailbox, at which time you use the app or website to go through those new items.
If it's junk mail, you can simply tap a "toss" icon to have the item recycled. Want to read it online? Just tap a read icon and scroll through it with a click or swipe. You can put your snail mail into folders, assign the letters to a "to-do list", email it to someone, or even request that it be physically delivered to you.
The company started off with 500 alpha customers, and is now launching the service in San Francisco based on zip code. Depending on how the service scales, the company has ambitious expansion plans.
I, for one, would gladly pay $4.99 a month if I didn't have to slog through snow in the winter to gather junk mail from our common neighborhood mailbox and could instead just check it out on my iPad. How about you? Let's see your comments.