Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Use thoughts on Enhanced Gmail plug-in for BlackBerry

The Enhanced Gmail plug-in for BlackBerry finally seems to be working. Even though it was released in August, it took until this Spring for the BlackBerry Internet Service to actually produce results, as far as I can tell.

What are those results?

Instead of having to use the (very good) separate Gmail for BlackBerry application, you can use the BlackBerry native e-mail application and get most of the functionality of Gmail.

What works: Yes, you can use a Gmail for Apps account instead of just a standard "@gmail" account. You get access to your labels, you can "star" an e-mail and your e-mails are threaded. You also get sync of deleted items, something that seemed to be missing before. In other words, it seems to provide full sync functionality.

What doesn't work: I'm not sure yet. Yesterday, marking items as read was only working from Gmail to the BlackBerry and not the other way round. Today, as I write this, I just tested that functionality and it is working. I'll report more as I test this thing.

But key: Google's own Gmail for BlackBerry stand-alone application, while really great, is a battery hog. Using the native BlackBerry application extends my battery life by hours. But you'll still want to keep that application on your device because there's nothing like being able to search all your mail from your handheld. And the interface is has some definite advantages over the native application (though some downsides too, like not displaying images).

Update: The lack of "mark read" updates from Gmail to the BlackBerry mail application is really really annoying. The improvement of battery life however is great, in comparison to hitting "refresh" all the time with the Gmail for BlackBerry stand-alone application.

Update 2: It's not that the "mark read" updates don't work. It's just that they take forever, hours even. Haven't had time to figure out on what frequency but it's many many minutes at very least and doesn't seem predictable. FAIL!