Gmail app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch has just been approved in the iTunes App Store. It runs on iOS 4 or better.Thus far, users of iOS devices have had to compromise on how their Google Web services work on their touch devices, using browser-based apps. For Gmail users, the compromise is mostly over. The native
The app adds email push notifications and sounds. It has fast inbox search, autocomplete from both Gmail and native contacts and photo uploads. It has priority inbox, conversation threading, and all the labeling, starring and archiving features that Gmail users need. And of course, its fully enabled with touch gestures. But it's a Web view. It's not a local email app (though Gmail does cache your messages offline - thanks, readers). And it doesn't support multiple accounts. Oh well. At least it's nice to touch.
Editor's note: This app has been pulled from the store due to notification bugs and will be re-released after it's fixed.
The layouts are comfortable for iOS users, but the feel matches that of the new desktop Gmail launched yesterday. Gmail works all right on IMAP using the built-in Mail.app, but some important Gmail features - like labels - were only functional in the Web version, which lacked the responsiveness and speed of a native app. After a long, weird user experience as iOS people on Gmail, the wait for a native Gmail client is over.
But users face a weird choice. If you want push notifications and attachments, use Gmail.app. If you want multiple accounts, use the Web app. You must choose. You cannot have all at once.
It might be a rocky ride, too. Users are already reporting errors caused by problems with the push notifications. Oh, the joy of the platform wars.