GMail on Your BlackBerry: Latest Client Offers Significant Featur

A few days ago I upgraded to version 1.5.1.1090 of the GMail client for my BlackBerry 8130. (This is a native, stand-alone, J2ME client application. In other words, it does not require a Web browser.) Previously, and for the past few months, I’ve been using version 1.1.x of this same client. 

The download and installation went very smoothly. One surprise, however, was the need for a reboot of the BlackBerry to complete the installation of the client. I don’t recall that need with previous releases. I can only suppose that this requirement is necessary to enable the deeper integration of the GMail client with the BlackBerry platform.
And that’s a good segue … What’s new? Well: 
  • Contact manager – This is the most significant feature/functionality enhancement. On opening the contact manager, a display of those with whom you interact with the most is presented. There’s also a search functionality that allows you to rapidly retrieve any of your contacts in the familiar way. And of course, should you wish, you can list all of your contacts. Once you’ve selected a contact from the “Most Contacted” list or via search, your contact’s details are presented. Just below the contact details is a link that allows you to display recent conversations with the identified contact. Very powerful. Very Google. Very nice! All of this means that you can initiate a new conversation or pick up on an existing one from the contact manager.  
  • Notification – The notification capability is also a significant enhancement in my estimation. What this means is that an icon resembling a bottle cap appears over top of the GMail client icon to indicate the arrival of new mail. This capability is integrated with your BlackBerry profile so you can associate in and out-of-holster behaviors to signal the arrival of new mail. The only thing missing now is the summary icon that is displayed by other applications in the upper-right corner of the BlackBerry’s screen. This capability is enabled via a new setting; select “More”, then “Settings” before placing a check mark against the notification option. There are a few more settings that are new to me – one allows for larger fonts, while the other allows for the “Sent from my mobile device” tag line. 
  • Finish Later – In the event that you are unable to finish composing a message, this version allows you to finish composition later. Note however, that only one draft can be saved. This is a welcome addition that I found myself pining for in previous releases.
As far as I can tell, that summarizes the features that I found new in this release. Based on a few days’ worth of experience, the implementation appears solid and performs well, making the upgrade highly worthwhile.
You can grab the GMail client for your mobile device by pointing the device’s Web browser at gmail.com/app. See Google Mobile GMail  for the details.
If you’re using Google Apps for Your Domain (GAFYD), point your mobile device’s Web browser at http://m.google.com/a. See the Google Apps page for more.
If you want to see what I’ve written previously about the GMail client for the BlackBerry click here.

 

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8 responses to “GMail on Your BlackBerry: Latest Client Offers Significant Featur”

  1. Tom says :

    Hello. First, thanks for taking the time to document your work with Google Apps.

    We’re embarking on a Google Apps migration at work and I have one BlackBerry user who is on the road asking about how contacts will sync. Is the contact manager you reference a native interface on the BlackBerry or if it’s part of a Google application of some sort?

    Best,
    Tom

  2. Ian Lumb says :

    The contact manager is a built-in component of the GMail client for the BlackBerry, Tom.

    And although the contact-management client does some client-side caching, there is no syncing involved. (As with all things Google, being on-net is intrinsic to the implementation. OK, that’s only true until Google Gears appears in this client 😉 Your road warrior will have access to all his/her contact information – as if they were sitting at a laptop/desktop using a Web browser.

    It’s quite cool and quite powerful.

    Sorry for the delay in responding, Ian

  3. Ian Lumb says :

    One more thing … Please check out a more-recent post for additional details on the GMail contact manager.

    -Ian

  4. Tom Byrne says :

    Sorry to be a slow learner! I have all my contact info on my Blackberry and a new computer (Old one is dead).

    Can I upload my contacts to gmial “contacts” direictly from my Blackberry. I have the canlendar going and have downloaded the moble apps.

    I just want my contact info uploaded.

    Thanks,

    Tom Byrne

  5. Kevin says :

    It appears that if you are in Canada you can’t get this download. I put my number in the space provided (every way possible) and it says invalid number. is this so? I am using Windows Live Mail where I have 1 hotmail (for junk e-mails etc) and my gmail which I use everyday. When I sync my blackberry with my laptop, the contacts go into the folder c:\programfiles\windowsmail\en-us but when I open windows mail I can’t find those contacts in either hotmail, gmail or windows mail under contacts. I can’t figure this out. help please.
    Kevin

  6. Ian Lumb says :

    Have a look at my recent post on Bright Hub, Kevin. It details how to acquire the Gmail client for the BlackBerry.

    -Ian

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