What is up with this new Gmail mobile application?

Google released a new Gmail mobile application yesterday that has led to a bit of confusion since they already have a mobile formatted Gmail site you can access from a mobile browser. This new method is a downloadable Java application so you must have a Java-enabled device and it appears that the T-Mobile USA limit they state may not be accurate. Find out all the details on using this application with T-Mobile on a Nokia N73 in the full blog entry.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Mobile device owners with html and wap web browser have had the ability to manage their Gmail accounts for quite some time, so what is all the talk about this new Gmail mobile client. Well the new Gmail mobile email client is actually a downloadable Java application for those with mobile phones and data plans that may not have a full web browser. This new application is advertised as being a faster solution so even those with a web browser may want to try out this dedicated application. You will now be able to read and reply to emails from your mobile phone while also having the ability to open Word and PDF files and images right on your phone. Search functionality is also included so you can easily find emails without scrolling though all of them on your phone. Using the application keeps your Gmail account synched too so mail sent from your phone will appear in the Sent Mail folder. Check out this quick comparison page to see whether the Gmail for mobile browser or Gmail for mobile application is best for the device you have. I use the Gmail for mobile browser now on my devices that is just accessed by pointing your mobile browser to http://m.gmail.com. One thing to remember about this new application is that it is Java-based so many high end mobile devices from Windows Mobile won't actually run the application and you should check the compatibility page to check to see if your device is supported before downloading the application. This compatibility page also states that T-Mobile USA does not support the application and as a T-Mobile USA customer I was curious to see if this just means that T-Zones is not supported or if the full T-Mobile unlimited internet plan is not supported so I installed the application on the Nokia N73 that I just received to evaluate.

I have the US$19.99 unlimited VPN internet access service plan on T-Mobile and can confirm that this new Java application actually works like a champ with this plan. I then tried accessing my Gmail account using T-Zones and again it worked fine. I don't know why the Google site states that T-Mobile USA is not supported and if you have T-Mobile I encourage you to at least try it out because it should actually work fine for you as well.

So which way do I prefer to access my Gmail account? I have to say that the new Gmail Java application has much better support for attachments and the layout is better optimized for mobile devices, even using the extremely powerful S60 3rd Edition web browser. There are quick shortcuts using the keypad that help you manage your emails on a mobile phone. New email is shown with a closed envelope and I would personally prefer to see it in bold or something that stood out more like it does in the web browser version of Gmail mobile. So I am now going to use the new Gmail dedicated application on my compatible devices and have to say this is one other area where the Nokia S60 smartphone beats most Windows Mobile Smartphone devices.

Update: I tried installing the Gmail Java application on my new T-Mobile Dash Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone and it also worked well. This is a brand new device and doesn't appear on the Google compatiblity page, but I can confirm that it works on the Dash using T-Mobile wireless data service and the onboard Java application found on the Dash.

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