I recently added a GMail client to my Blackberry.
This client is a stand-alone Java application that you download and install. Once installed, the client:
- Keeps you signed in to GMail
- Checks for and preloads GMail messages
All of this happens in the background. You can go ahead and use other applications on your `berry, and then return to the GMail client. After all, it’s a proper client, not a client running in a browser on your `berry.
The GMail client for the Blackberry is quite rich in terms of features and functionalities. You can:
- Compose mail – and even use your GMail Contacts
- Search mail – the client retains recent searches for you
- Read mail – and this includes manipulating GMail Conversations
- Work with Starred mail
- Force a check for mail
- View collections of mail – e.g., folders, labels, etc.
- Archive conversations – and when you do, the archiving is sync’d with your browser-based access to GMail(!)
The GMail client for the Blackberry appears to be very lightweight. It works efficiently with the rest of the GMail infrastructure to process your requests (e.g., retrieve a certain mesage, execute a search, etc.). This has always been a capability that impressed me about the Blackberry’s built-in email application. It’s rich in features and functionalities, and yet exceedingly efficient. (There a many providers of desktop email clients that could learn a lot from RIM and Google! RIM and Google grok the online, mobile world so well is scary!)
All of this is great, but here’s the real win for me personally: I now have a fully functional GMail client that is completely independent of my employer. I work for a University these days, so that isn’t a huge concern for me. However, there are times when it’s beneficial to keep one’s employment and private lives separate. With the GMail client on my Blackberry now, I no longer need to forward my GMail to my employer’s email service so that I can see it on my Blackberry.
My only complaint is that I have to actually open the GMail client to see if there’s any mail. There’s is no notification icon 😦
One last thing … You definitely need the unlimited usage plan for data to be exploiting the GMail client on your Blackberry to the degree that I’ve described here!