Google's new Gmail for Android adds limited support for the new Gmail Priority Inbox feature and decouples the application from the operating system.
Google Sept. 21 upgraded Gmail for Android, decoupling
the application from the operating system for future Android releases and adding limited
support for its new Gmail Priority Inbox feature.
The Gmail for Android team said in a blog post the update
will be available only for smartphones and tablets running Android 2.2.
That includes the Google Nexus One, Sprint HTC EVO, as
well as the Droid line from Verizon Wireless. That covers the Motorola Droid, Motorola
Droid 2, HTC Droid Incredible and, beginning today, the Motorola Droid X
Gmail updates will no longer be tied to new
Android releases, an effort to separate the app from the mobile OS.
The benefit of this? Efficiency, said Google, enabling users to "get new Gmail stuff faster without having
to wait for system updates."
Google's speedy Android rollout makes it hard for phone
carriers to keep up with new OS builds.
By untethering its apps from the OS,
Google can facilitate upgrades to the apps through the Android Market, enabling users to enjoy them immediately,
similar to the desktop model.
Google recognized this issue early on and had
decoupling apps from the OS and making them available for download
and upgrade from Android Market back in March.
Google I/O came and went in May and, while the company introduced
Android 2.2, the company announced nothing along those lines.
Decoupling apps from the OS sets up Google well for the Android 3.0
build, geared for tablet computers, this fall.
New Gmail for Android offers new usability perks, which users may see here
When scrolling through a conversation, Gmail now sticks
most important message actions atop the screen. To see a previous message in a
long thread, users can tap a new "Show quoted text" button.
Gmail for Android also has some support for Priority
Inbox, the inbox management tool Google
late last month.
Priority Inbox lets users designate some messages as more
important than others, a boon at a time when users are feeling the weight of
Specifically, Gmail users who have enabled Priority Inbox
in the desktop version of Gmail will see an "Important" label that
shows all messages flagged as important from Gmail on their Android phone.
However, the app won't yet display sections for
"Important and Unread," "Starred" and "Everything