I’m a rampant Gmail user. Yeah, the kind of guy who has it open all day long, like some people would have their Outlook account. Of course, the added bonus is the Google Talk feature, but that’s for another day.
Right now I’d like to talk about a few different ways which you can get your Gmail on your BlackBerry. This is a personal journey I took, and after actually reading a few short, short articles, I found that it shouldn’t have taken that long at all. So, before I bore you, let’s start at the beginning: My first experience syncing up Gmail on my BlackBerry.
The first thing I did when I got home with my 8830 was to add Gmail to my email list. I use it all the damn time, so it makes sense to have my mail pushed there.
So I opened my Gmail account, went to “settings,” and then “Forwarding and POP/IMAP.” Whether it was right or not, I enabled both POP and IMAP. Then I went to my BIS login and clicked “add email.” After tapping in my Gmail address and password, it gave me a confirmation. And that was that. Really that simple. Now all of my Gmail messages passed through my BB.
Problem is, that got a bit annoying. All of my Gmail was hitting both Inboxes, no matter what I did. That is, if I read it through my web browser, like I normally do, it would still show up as unread on the BlackBerry — thus causing it to blink. And the blinking kinda gets annoying after a while, so I’d constantly be going in to mark these messages as read.
Another complaint I filed was that my outgoing messages would show up in my mailbox as new messages, whether I sent them through Gmail from my BB or my browser. That’s another annoyance, though it presents no real intensive problems. I even set “Hide Sent Messages” to “Yes,” figuring that would solve it. Not so much.
The final one is a bit less annoying, but something to talk about nonetheless. I have certain messages that automatically archive into a label, so they don’t hit my main Inbox on Gmail. These messages, unfortunately, hit my Inbox on my BlackBerry. Not a huge inconvenience, but I archive and mark my Borders coupons as read for a reason.
So it looks like the basic push email feature comes with some caveats. Most of them are annoyances, so it’s not like I was throwing my BlackBerry through the wall or anything. But still, there has to be something better…
The Gmail Application
Finally, frustrated, I downloaded the Gmail application. As I said before, I didn’t want to. I absolutely love the convenience of push email…I just don’t like it when I’ve got to open up items or mark them as read on multiple devices.
The Gmail app is really everything you could hope for…except one thing, which I’ll get to in a minute. It’s got the basic Gmail display, giving you your last 10 or so messages. You can explore a bit deeper, too, delving into your labels and other folders. All of your contacts are available, too.
What I like most about the application is that nearly every function of Gmail is available. I can search messages, mark items as read, star them, archive them, slap them with a label, or even my favorite, report it as spam. It even has your unread message count under the icon, which is a huge bonus. However, it doesn’t flash. That’s my only real complaint about the application.
Yes, it’s small. Yes, it’s rather petty, too. But I quite like being able to glance across the room at my BB, or even just pull it out of my pocket, and see a flashing red light telling me I have new messages. Still, it’s far better than the original method of push Gmail I had pursued. But there’s one thing I left unchecked:
IMAP pushing through Gmail
Okay, so I was in the middle of where I wanted to be. On the one hand was the push email which I enjoyed so much. But it didn’t reconcile the way I wanted it (yes, I had all my reconciling options set correctly). On the other hand was the Gmail application, the only problem with which was the notification process. And so I checked out Google’s instructions for IMAP syncing on the BlackBerry.
Good stuff, I gotta say. The steps weren’t exactly as listed — it seems that this is meant for older BlackBerrys, as the instructions refer to the jog wheel. So I followed those instructions. The key, by the way, is not entering in your password at first. If you do enter it, you’re going to be set up with the original sync I talked about above…and if you’re like me you don’t want that.
After doing everything, including making sure the port was set right, I started sending out some test emails. If I read a message on my BlackBerry now, it is marked as read in my Gmail inbox. So when I’m on the road, I won’t have to see a ton of messages I’ve already read once I get home. The messages I have set to filter in some way or another don’t hit the Inbox on my BlackBerry, which is nice.
So only things that hit my main Inbox are pushed to my BB. The only problem that still persists is when I read something in my browser, it still shows up as new on the BlackBerry. But since the other issues were cleaned up by this, I’m rather satisfied.
After spending a week with each, I’m putting my vote in for the push version of Gmail. I’m going to keep the Gmail application installed. Though it might be redundant, it does have some features that are lacking in my push email. I can use the application to change settings and organize my messages…if I so choose. But I can still use the convenience of push email, with a minor inconvenience attached.