Google have recently released an update to their Gmail application for Android, with the addition of new features for Android 2.2 (Froyo) users. The new update is now live in the Android Market, so anybody who owns a Froyo device can head over to the Market and grab the update for themselves.
There are a number of features included in this latest update that a lot of users will appreciate. One of the most noticeable things that have arrived in the update is the addition of priority inbox. This means that you will be able to see an ‘important’ label tagged on to some of the emails that you have marked as important, and view all of these in both a separate folder to your inbox, and get to them quickly if you are browsing your entire inbox.
Message replies have also been made more usable. When you are in an email, your message actions (the reply button, alongside other controls) will now stick to the top of the screen, so that you don’t have to scroll right to the top of the email to access these controls. This is a feature I have wanted to be present in Gmail for Android since I started using it, and it’s one that makes things a lot easier to use, especially when quickly replying to a message or starring it after I’ve read it.
Another feature that has made its way over from the desktop version of Gmail is the ability to view previous emails in a thread of messages. All you have to do to access the previous message is tap on the “show quoted text” button, so you can catch up with an old email conversation!
Secondly, the update is available only for Android 2.2 users, bringing us back to the issue of fragmentation on Google’s Android mobile platform. Although over half of the Android users in the world are now using 2.1 or later, there are still a lot of people stuck on older versions, and the older version of Gmail as a result.
Current phones with Android 2.2 in the UK include Google’s own Nexus One, as well as a selection of HTC’s phones such as the HTC Desire. In the USA, the Nexus One, HTC EVO, Motorola Droid 2 and Motorola Droid runs Google’s latest and greatest.
If you want to grab the update for yourself, just scan the QR code below with your phone (don’t know how to do this? Check out our guide to QR codes) or search for Gmail in the Market. Note that if you aren’t running Android 2.2, this new version of Gmail won’t appear in the Market.
Will this latest update to Google’s Gmail app for Android encourage you to use the service more often, or have you been using it despite its various shortcomings anyway? I for one will probably be making more use out of my Gmail account on the go, but we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!