Google releases update to mobile Gmail

Summary:Version 2.0 of the Gmail client for mobile devices promises a performance boost and more offline features

Google on Thursday released version 2.0 of its Gmail client for mobile devices, promising a performance boost and more offline features.

The new version is designed for BlackBerry devices and handsets that support Java 2 Micro Edition (J2ME), but it doesn't yet include support for some widely used phones, such as those based on Windows Mobile, according to a post on the official Google Mobile blog. Not all the new features are available on all handsets, Google said.

The primary focus for the release was performance, a crucial concern on mobile devices, which have limited processing power, Google engineer Derek Phillips wrote in the blog post.

"We rearchitected the entire client to push all the processing to the background, greatly improve the client-side caching scheme and optimised every bottleneck piece of code we came across," he wrote.

In addition to the raw performance boost, this means scrolling works more smoothly and the client no longer freezes, Phillips said.

The client can now support basic features while offline: composing and reading the most recent emails, and saving new messages to the outbox, to be automatically sent when the phone reconnects to the network.

Phones with Qwerty keyboards can use shortcut keys, for navigating through the inbox, for example. Users can now easily switch between multiple accounts, such as Gmail and Google Apps email accounts, and can save multiple drafts of an email, Phillips said.

The client is available in more than 35 languages and can be downloaded via a mobile phone from m.google.com/mail.

The mobile Gmail application was first released in 2005 and has gone through several minor revisions. It is integrated into the first Android handset, unveiled last month and set for a UK release in November.

According to Google's technical support documentation, the company doesn't officially support the application on Windows Mobile phones. However, Google said users can try it at their own discretion if they have a Java Virtual Machine installed.

Topics: Mobility

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