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Gmail IMAP is here, but BlackBerry users may want to stick with POP

IMAP support continues to roll out from Gmail and I just found that my account was provisioned for it sometime last night. I also am now using a T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve as my main device so I thought I would delete my Gmail POP account and setup Gmail with IMAP in an attempt to gain access to my labels, etc. in Gmail and avoid any duplicate efforts in handling email. I also setup my iPhone with Gmail IMAP and found that it works perfectly while giving me access to all my labels as if they were IMAP folders.

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IMAP support continues to roll out from Gmail and I just found that my account was provisioned for it sometime last night. I also am now using a T-Mobile BlackBerry Curve as my main device so I thought I would delete my Gmail POP account and setup Gmail with IMAP in an attempt to gain access to my labels, etc. in Gmail and avoid any duplicate efforts in handling email. I also setup my iPhone with Gmail IMAP and found that it works perfectly while giving me access to all my labels as if they were IMAP folders.

I guess my newness to the BlackBerry is showing a bit as I attempt to understand how the BlackBerry Internet Services (BIS) system works. At first I couldn't figure out how to setup IMAP on the Curve since the Google directions said to look for the 'PersonalEMailSetUp' icon. My Curve doesn't have this icon, but it does have a Set up Internet E-mail icon that I opened up. At first I entered my Gmail email address and password and then the BB setup my account automatically. It turns out this appears to set it up for POP/BIS functionality and not necessarily IMAP. The key is that you have to leave the password blank and then follow the Google directions as listed. If Google added the 'Set up Internet E-mail' icon to the directions it may help people avoid a bit of confusion.

I now have had Gmail IMAP setup on the Curve and testing it out reveals that items read on the Curve change the status in Gmail to read just as expected from IMAP. Email does seem to be taking much longer to get on the BlackBerry (upwards of 10 minutes or so). I was actually getting email on the BlackBerry before it even showed up in my Gmail web interface before switching to Gmail IMAP. Deletion of email doesn't seem to be as functional or instant either and I cannot find any way to view folders/labels on the BlackBerry. I did find a good discussion thread on BlackBerry Forums.com where discussions seem to indicate that Gmail IMAP isn't yet fully supported by RIM or the BIS and we should probably stick with Gmail POP for now. Some contributors stated IMAP actually slows things down (that is my experience too) and that RIM has worked with the Google API to get two-way syncing in place prior to IMAP support.

I would be interested in hearing what readers have experienced with Gmail on their BlackBerry devices and will continue to test out the different options. I hope we get full IMAP support where I can view email that I have archived under different labels and have seamless remote access to my Gmail account. For now, I am going back to the standard Gmail setup on my BlackBerry. I just ran some more tests with Gmail standard setup on the BB and if I delete on the BB it gets deleted in Gmail so sticking with the standard (enter email address and password in the setup) on the BB seems to be the way to go.