Today Google released a native app for iOS for the very popular gmail service. Of course it was quickly pulled from the app store (of course just moments before I went to download it). Do we really need a Gmail app though?
I'm not sure if I really buy the necessity of a native Gmail app on the iPhone. I use Gmail for my main emailing needs, but I have no problems with using it within the built in Mail app on my iPhone.
For people that complain about the lack of Push notifications (receiving the email immediately rather than checking for it every 15 minutes or so) you can easily set that up by enabling Google Sync.
The only real addition this app seems to provide is the ability to star your emails and the Priority inbox. The Priority inbox is rather new itself and I haven't found a need for it as I'm a firm believer in inbox 0.
Maybe there's something I'm missing, maybe there is a great reason that you will need a second email client on your phone. I just don't see the value in releasing this app this late in the game.
My better idea? Work with Apple on getting gmail better integrated into the iOS experience. Sure there may be a bit of a feud brewing between the 2 companies, but clearly not too much since they're still doing business together.
Add priority inbox to the iPhone. Add starring as an option. It would save Google a lot of development time, and if it's available, I'm sure iPhone users will use the features.
Sure the app doesn't do anyone any harm just by existing, but I think we can assume one of the many reasons that Google would want a standalone app rather than an integrated experience.
By separating users from an integrated experience, I bet Google is banking on it making people less attached to their precious iPhone and give them a glimpse into the Android experience. I don't think that this is really a nefarious scheme devised by Google, but I would be shocked if the thought didn't come up at all.
What do you think? Have you waited with bated breath for a Gmail app to come to the iPhone? Do you still think you will use the Mail app? Or maybe you're one of the few people out there that actually prefers doing things in the mobile web client.
Let me know!