MacUnlimited has announced a new service for Macintosh users called MacMail, a free browser-based secure email service.

Farhad Alaaldin, executive director of MacUnlimited, said: "Web based email services such as Hotmail have been around for a while, but unlike Hotmail, MacMail is designed for Macintosh users, offering full support for Mac protocols and technologies. This means there will be no compatibility issues - and no concerns for those uncertain about Microsoft's Passport system."

"We believe that MacMail is another way for Mac users to reaffirm their sense of belonging to the Mac community," Alaaldin added.

The company is catering for an international audience with the service - the Web site will be in multiple languages to cater for non-English speakers.

The beta version of the service launches in mid-February, with the service scheduled to go live in March.

As well as basic Web-based email and file exchange, MacMail will check all messages for viruses, offers a contact manager – with import/export – facilities and has a spam filter.

Log-in will be handled securely using SSL. MacUnlimited promise to implement the ability to retrieve email also from external POP3 accounts.

MacMail has been tested on all Mac OS versions, from System 7.5 to 9.x, and Mac OS X. The servers are based on Linux and Mac for greater security. MacMail is hosted on multiple-server arrays with full backup and redundancy, and is connected to the Internet through a multi-pop connection using above 650Mb of bandwidth.