Gmail updates coming ahead of Android OS updates in the future

Google breaks Gmail app apart from Android OS--are other Google apps next?

The Gmail team has continued to impress time and again. Just when you're getting used to its web-based interface, it makes it feel even more like a client. And now the company is planning on unleashing the same rapid development and release via the Android Market.

Traditionally, you have to wait for a new release of the Android OS before you can enjoy new client-based features in Gmail. Now the company has announced that a Gmail app will be shipping in the Android Market and will enjoy updates without the need of an OS update.

The first iteration of the Gmail app in the Android Market features improvements around message replies, access to quoted text, and more. For example, if you have a long thread, just like in the desktop version of Gmail, you can now click on "Show quoted text" to see the previous message. The company has also created the floating bar which sticks your most important message actions to the top of the screen. This was first debuted in the web-based version, but now the client will offer it, too. The new client also offers a mobile version of the company's new Priority Inbox.

I think it's great that Google is going to continue to allow the Gmail team to pump out new versions of its client without having to bottle it into a new OS release. This also means that the Gmail team can build enhanced versions of its app to run across all different versions of the Android OS.

I'm definitely interested in seeing how this client evolves. Since the majority of my life is spent in Gmail, it might make sense for me to seriously consider switching back to Android as a primary. Then again, with Apple's relaxed restrictions on the App Store, maybe Google will finally decide to put out a Gmail client app for iPhone.

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