The other day I decided to try out the GMail mobile app, and hell, since I was trying that I might as well give FlurryMail a shot as well. Both are really good applications actually, comparing pretty favorably to the mail client built into my E61. Not sure if that’s a complement to the Java based apps or a swipe at Nokia’s application development capability. There are definitely differences between all of them, FlurryMail will let you access just about any email account you have out there. I set it up to use IMAP with my bitsplitter address and it worked great, although fetching new mails didn’t happen as quickly as I would like it to. For some reason a new message wasn’t getting picked up by the client even though I knew other IMAP clients were grabbing it. GMail of course only works with a GMail account, and is relatively slim and lacking in setup options… but that’s cause it just works and you probably won’t need to futz with it. Slick.
I was surprised to find that the Java clients in this case were just as good as the native client. The Nokia client takes FOREVER to connect to a mailbox and sync. So the startup time normally complained about with Java apps wasn’t felt in this case. Sure it took the Java apps longer to start, but it took them less time on the network part. So all of them ended up being usable after about the same wait time. Normally the Java stuff is kinda memory heavy compared to a normal app, but the Nokia mail app crashes out from underneath me all the time due to what I can only assume is memory exhaustion. I can’t leave it up in the background either, it always quits out at some point when I try to do that, so the Java version is just as good there as well. And the user interface was probably better on both Java versions than the native app. All of them handled attachments well – with the ranking of ease of use between all of them being GMail the most pleasant, then Flurry, and last by a long shot the Nokia mail client.
Poor, very poor indeed. I look at the Blackberry as an email device and can’t help but think that someone just completely does not grok the concept at Nokia. The messenger functionality is not well integrated into the device, the service is not always on, the user interface is at times hostile enough to make it hard for even me to work the thing, there are tons of display quirks, and when it does work it’s S L O W – A S – H E L L. Fortunately I’m not really an email user, that’s not the primary mode in which I use my device. And then I realized that email really is kinda dead to me. Most of my communication goes on through IM, blogs, SMS. I use email but it’s always kinda a pain. It doesn’t do what I want it to when I want it to. It’s stuck in these archaic applications and stranded places like Exchange servers… god, how horrible is that? Email is kinda broken… or is that just me and my odd worldview?