Gmail for BlackBerry now "talks" to the OS

January 06, 2008

I'm not quite sure when it happened,1 but the Gmail BlackBerry client now interfaces directly with the device. In other words, the BlackBerry knows when I receive an e-mail through the Gmail client. In fact, after you install the client, you're given Gmail-centric options in the profile settings (e.g., you can define a particular tone for messages received through the client, etc.).

The client works so well that it hasn't even crossed my mind to setup the BlackBerry e-mail client to receive my Gmail e-mail (I go back-and-forth on the need/desire to have my non-work e-mail pushed). If you'd like, it will even add a "Sent from Gmail for mobile" signature to the bottom of e-mails sent through the client (unfortunately, however, the language currently can't be changed).

Other things worth mentioning are its overall speed, the lightning-fast auto-completion of contacts in the to/cc/bcc fields (it works just like regular Gmail!), the pre-fetching of e-mails in anticipation of your opening them, and its general robustness.

If I have to complain about something, it would be the seemingly will-nilly background polling for new e-mail. There are no options to specify with regard to how often the client will check for new e-mail, and I can't figure out its apparently random schedule. There's a manual solution to this (i.e., just click "refresh"), but I'd prefer a frequency I can modify. Also, support for contact groups would be nice.

I think it's safe to say that Rui is onto something:

As far as I can tell, despite [Google] regularly churning out standard MIDP versions of their apps for other phones, there are actually more Google applications for the Blackberry than for any other mobile device. And I don’t mean icons with shortcuts to the browser, I mean actual running code.

Which is, in my mind, doubly interesting when you consider that Android is, for all practical intents and purposes, a Java platform (you code in Java, even if the end result doesn’t run in a “normal” Java VM).

So yeah, they might just be using the Blackberry (definitely the best Java-based platform out there right now) as a prototype/playground of sorts. (emphasis mine).

  1. Surely sometime between when I picked up the iPhone and when we parted ways (and I re-entered BlackBerry heaven).   

You should follow me on Twitter here