The Gmail app for BlackBerry has been kicking around for quite a while now, yet many users won't give it a second look. I can't really blame them, since having a BlackBerry means having a BIS or BES, so who needs an app for email? Although my BIS email is for my main accounts, I do have some shared email addresses that I don't want being pushed to my device, so this is where the Gmail app comes in handy (I'm sure there are some other good reasons to use it as well). While not totally perfect, its not terrible either. It does have some great features as well as some really bad ones. Hit the jump for a look at what its all about.
The login screen, plain and simple. Toss in your email address and password and you're up and running. Once you login you'll see your inbox.
Here you will notice your unread messages in bold, and you can click into an email thread to see the entire conversation. This acts much like Gmail on the web, keeping the conversation collapsed if its long and allowing you to click on each message to expand. When viewing a message you have a small set of menu options including Archive, Mark as Read, Add Star, Report Spam and Delete.
Before the Enhanced Gmail Plugin came along, this was really the only way to get extended options for messages in Gmail. There was no way to archive, report spam, label or add a star with regular BIS mail, so the Gmail app was a great utility for getting these done. You also have the standard forward and reply functions as well (keyboard shortcuts included). Before we get too far, one of the major flaws I found with the app is that there is no copy/paste functionality. This is a pretty huge downside and I'm really not sure why its not available, and it pretty much sucks sometimes not being able to copy or paste.
From the main screen you can navigate through your mail fairly easily. The menu lets you view your Inobx, Outbox, All Mail, Starred, Spam, Trash and Labels. It works extremely well and is quick when changing between folders. There is also a search option which I've used loads of times and it is probably one of my favorite parts of the app. It works quick and is the easiest way to search your Gmail inbox as it has less options than remote search through BIS and is much quicker.
You can also choose to "Add Account" which lets you add another Gmail account. This is very cool as you can be logged into more than one account at a time.
The settings are slim (and some a bit odd as to why they are included) and there are really only one or two I think are really necessary. You have the option use large fonts for better viewing and ask for confirmation before archiving/deleting as well as the option to notifiy on new mail (thing to note on this one is that you CAN setup an LED and sound in your profile, however the Gmail app does NOT have a banner icon which totally sucks). There are some other settings mixed in to tweak the app a bit, but nothing that I'd lose sleep over.
Overall I do like the Gmail app. Obviously you'll need a decent reason to use it as there is no point in picking it over straight up BIS/BES. It does have a few good uses - if you have a shared email or want to let someone check their Gmail from your device for instance. Other than that I like to keep it on my device if I need to search for old mail since I'm not a huge fan of the remote search. Its free so definitely worth checking out, but I hope that at some point it gets updated and includes a banner notification and maybe some other tweaks. Hit the link below from your device to download.