Friday, October 17, 2008
The first Android-powered phone, the T-Mobile G1, is coming out on Wednesday. My friends know that I work on Android, and as you can imagine, I get asked about it all the time. I have a lot to say about the G1, but I always begin by telling them that lots of Google products, including Gmail, are available for free, on several mobile devices.
I've been using Gmail on the go for more than a year now and it's difficult to imagine my life without ubiquitous email access. It proves handy every day -- whether for keeping a close eye on a (very) busy inbox, finding the address of a party while already in the taxi, or sending out a spontaneous dinner plan while on the bus back home.
If you like using Gmail on your computer you'll feel very much at ease with Gmail on Android-powered phones. You can download documents and MP3s, manage and view labels, star and archive messages, save drafts and even report spam.
I check my email frequently and have two Gmail accounts -- one for work and one for personal life. Before I started using Gmail on the T-Mobile G1, I used to check my mail by actively reloading or refreshing my inbox on one of my other mobile devices. And with two email accounts, I had to repeat this twice each time.
Not anymore. With the combination of push email and notifications on the status-bar, I never have to check for new mail. Whenever a new message arrives, I immediately get notified (in real time) with a little "@" sign at the top (see image below on the left). With a single swipe I can pull down the notification pane and see my new messages (on the right).
But the best thing, in my mind, about Gmail on Android-powered phones, is the way email is deeply integrated with other applications. For instance, let's say I'm browsing the web, reading my favorite tech blog. When I come across a post that I'd like to share, I can simply press and hold my finger down on the link and then choose "share" to immediately create an email with that article's web address. The tight integration with Contacts on the device then allows Gmail to suggest contacts based on the first letters I type.
All of your Gmail contacts are immediately available on the phone upon first log-in. And whenever you create a new contact on the device it's automatically synced with your Gmail contacts and therefore immediately backed-up, so you never need to worry about losing your contacts if you lose or break your phone.
To learn more about Gmail on the world's first Android-powered phone, check out our Mobile blog post, the Gmail page on mobile.google.com/android, or watch this instructional video: