Google is announcing today a new Java Gmail client for mobile devices.
Gmail for Mobile Devices is a free application and will work on any J2ME phones in the U.S. Users can download the app by using their phone's browser to navigate to gmail.com/app.
According to Google, the new app will work on about 300 different phones in the U.S. market. There are no ads. Attachments open as normal, provided you have the appropriate software.
Gmail for Mobile Devices is free, but you'll have to pay your carrier for the data transfer.
Google has partnered with Sprint for the launch, and Gmail for Mobile Devices is available for download from the Sprint PCS VisionSM and Sprint Power VisionSM home pages.
I've been playing with the app for a few days now. Since I'm not a Blackberry user (I owned a Treo for a year), I can't speak for how Gmail for Mobile Devices compares to the Blackberry e-mail experience. But I can say that this app is very easy to use. It's been a productivity boon for me, especially since I've been attending the Streaming Media West conference and haven't been able to check my e-mail on my laptop during sessions.
My favorite feature: Gmail for Mobile Devices preloads the first ten message in your inbox when you start the app. There's no data transfer lag when you click on those messages.
Google also offers an XHTML version of Gmail for mobile browsers, but man, that's a lot slower to use.
I only wonder why it took Google so long to launch this particular app. It seems like such a no-brainer.