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Google Pulls the Plug On BlackBerry Gmail App 122

hypnosec writes "From later this month, Google has decided to stop providing its popular Gmail app for BlackBerry. This can be viewed as a shock for RIM as they are putting in strong efforts to prevent customer defections to handsets that run on Android and iOS. Thus, from 22nd November, BlackBerry owners will not be able to reach Gmail on their devices; only those users who already have Gmail installed will be able to access and use the Google app. On Tuesday, Google on its official apps update blog stated that the company will now be focusing on 'building a great Gmail experience in the mobile browser.'"
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Google Pulls the Plug On BlackBerry Gmail App

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  • Bad sumary much? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2011 @07:17PM (#38017596)

    This only affects the Gmail app, not accessing Gmail via BIS which is how almost all BB users access their Gmail.

    • by xmorg ( 718633 )

      yea what about imap dot gmail dot com?

      • Re:Bad sumary much? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @08:31PM (#38018216) Homepage Journal

        If Google wants to build a "great email experience", they've got a few basic things to do yet where gmail falls down hard. For instance, gmail supports multiple reply addresses for those who manage more than one domain or have more than one email home, but the filters don't let you set the reply field based on the to: field, you have to do it manually every time, so errors in reply addresses are quite common; They don't properly support mono-spaced fonts, so server reports and other data that depend on field alignment come out trashed; the "themes" they offer are so basic they're almost useless, you can't control font or backdrop colors, so calling it a "theme" is pushing the envelope a bit. You can't delete attachments in order to manage the amount of space you use (obviously they're just trying to get you to go over the "free" amount so you have to pay, but it's a PITA no matter why it's done -- many emails I have have binaries attached that are one-time or throwaway, but keeping the email itself is very important to me (development issues, etc.)) I should also note that all of these issues were handled properly by Eudora over a decade ago -- these capabilities aren't exactly brand new ideas, or for that matter, difficult in any way.

        I like web-mail, the convenience is very high, but Google's implementation is strictly amateur. Reminiscent of of Google base, although that is even worse -- adding broadly unpredictable unreliability and no usable support to a minimalist (read, amateur) feature set.

        • Gmail DOES support html emails, though. If you're designing server reports to be sent to your gmail account, why not line them up by having the server build an html table?

          • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

            I'm not designing them. I'm receiving them. They're already properly formatted text reports from various standard tools. This isn't some unique problem of mine; this is how most tools produce reports in the first place. Should I have to go in and make custom versions of every server tool to solve this problem, or does it seem more reasonable that GMail provide a simple switch that lets me use the filters to ensure I get the correct display? Considering that if I write all those custom reports, it only helps

            • Hmmm...

              Are we talking about the beta email product that google offers to everyone for free?

              If so, there's still a workaround: use imap to get your emails using the client of your choice.

      • Or just forward your gmail account emails to your account on your exchange server and read your emails from there instead.
    • Re:Bad sumary much? (Score:5, Informative)

      by monzie ( 729782 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @07:48PM (#38017800) Homepage
      I use GMail and Google Apps email on my Blackberry via BIS. I still have the GMail application installed on my BB though. Why?

      - Advantages of GMail Native app on the BB

      1. You can only search emails which are on the device. You cannot search emails which you have in your inbox but not the device. This means you can only search for emails which you received since you started syncing the device with GMail. By default Blackberry devices store messages only for 30 days ( you can set it to upto 120 days I believe). So you also cannot search for emails before 30-120 even if BIS was set to sync to it

      2. There is no support for labels. BIS will, by default, forward All emails that you receive regardless of the filters that you may or may not have setup for your mailings lists and other stuff. To work around this, I have had to set up a "to-me" and "cc-me" filter on the device. That is of course, sub-optimal.

      Advantages of BIS over GMail native application

      1. Contacts and Calendar sync ( though the Contact sync can occasionally be a bit buggy

      2. Attachment support - there is no way to send attachments via the GMail native application

      3. Real Push(tm) support - other than when they have a "core switch failover thing" and your smartphone then essentially becomes a dumbphone.

      • I think that the best thing about the Gmail app was that it didn't truncate your email after 32Kb of HTML like the native email client did. Christ RIM, it's 2011, I can torrent on other phones and you want to cut me off at 32Kb per email to save bandwidth? It was bullshit like that that made you lose me as a customer.
        • by swalve ( 1980968 )
          You can just tell it to fetch the next chunk if it is that important. That's why Blackberry *kept* me as a customer. They care about keeping data usage down. I like a company that obsesses over the small things so I don't have to.
          • Look again, it will do that a few times, but eventually it just Truncates the message.

            They care about keeping data usage down.

            Not at all, another 64KB is nothing. Absolutely nothing in the face of everything else, like internet radio and youtube that come installed on the phone. That's like trying to only save the pennies from a burning pile of one hundred dollar bills.

      • The newer BIS versions actually permit you to search remotely in the native client and access your full email history. In your inbox go Menu -> Search By -> Advanced. There's an On Device/Remotely option. Used to be exclusively BES, but that's changed. If you don't see it delete and re-add the account in the email setup app, some of the newer features require initial (automatic) setup steps.

        @Pseudonym Authority With newer devices that limit has been increased 10x. I've never had a message be trunca
        • Also, labels/stars/archiving has been supported by the gmail plugin for a year or two, and is supported without the plugin in OS 7. GP is right though, in that you can't filter based on label. I've been using gmail's filters to both "apply label" and "skip inbox" to prevent certain mail from getting to the device.
    • I use the app :( the search and labels features were kind of nice....

    • This only affects the Gmail app, not accessing Gmail via BIS which is how almost all BB users access their Gmail.

      Reading fail much? That's exactly what is said: Google has decided to stop providing its popular Gmail app for BlackBerry.

      • Two lines down: "BlackBerry owners will not be able to reach Gmail on their devices"
        I think that's what he was referring to.
  • Garbage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2011 @07:17PM (#38017598)

    No self respecting BB user uses the Gmail app. It is clunky and slow. You use BIS with your Gmail account with the Gmail plugin. The article is tripe as well.

    • Re:Garbage (Score:5, Funny)

      by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @08:07PM (#38017944)

      If being clunky and slow was something bad in BB user's eyes, they wouldn't be BB users.

      *Flamebait, but also true

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by reboot246 ( 623534 )
        BB's in anybody's eyes are bad.

        You'll shoot your eye out kid!
      • BB users have been accustomed to clunky slow phones with limited features. I remember speaking with a prior BB user who told me how they loved their phone, but after showing them my Android phone and all it could do; they weren't too enthused about their BB afterwards. Eventually they ditched their BB phone for an iPhone and wished they had done so much sooner.
    • by oztiks ( 921504 )

      Nor Zimbra or ME for that matter! BB all in all is a pain in the ass for most collaboration apps that isn't MS. Collaborative email products give BB about the same amount support that grandma's tits get wearing tube top without a bra ...

    • by afabbro ( 33948 )

      No self respecting BB user

      Isn't that impossible?

  • This is untrue (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cito ( 1725214 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @07:20PM (#38017612)
    Users will still be able to check their gmail with the browser. Google is not blocking blackberry users.

    Gmail only pulled the gmail app, but there are 3rd party gmail apps, the blackberry mail app also checks gmail with no problem, and you can also use the browser to check gmail.

    • Re:This is untrue (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @07:50PM (#38017820)

      If anything this might be the start of big companies getting the clue - we already have an app for that*, it's called a web browser.

      *obviously that doesn't apply for everything yet, but they're working on it.

      • I don't think you'd say that if you had ever used the BB browser. It's awful.
        • Having suffered with a BB for my work phone for some time, I think that "awful" isn't really accurate. That's far too mild a term for the painful experience that browser offers.
        • Any device shipped in the last two years has either come with or is upgradeable to OS 6, meaning a WebKit browser. OS 7 actually has a pretty nice browser, the 60 fps hardware acceleration means it's much smoother than Android when scrolling/zooming. Pages also load quite fast. Okay, not quite as fast as the iPhone 4S, but an iPhone 4-like browsing experience is hardly "awful".
        • by swalve ( 1980968 )
          The new one is fine. Blackberry suffered from being an early adopter. They came up with a way to make browsing work on a smartphone, and then were stuck with some of that legacy crap when a competitor improved upon it.
      • While it's true that many cases would be served well enough by a browser app, this one certainly isn't it. It's email - it's supposed to be served well by a stock email app (via IMAP or ActiveSync or whatever). The problem is that you then lose certain GMail-specific features, like labels.

        • It IS served by a stock email app. It's called BIS. You just use the incredibly easy "email setup" wizard on any device (except perhaps enterprise-only ones?). You don't need any app.
      • by beuges ( 613130 )

        Yes, and while moving certain things to web apps makes sense, and while providing a web mail interface is pretty much essential, having Google tell BlackBerry users that they can just use the web browser for their gmail is both retarded and arrogant for one simple reason: The web browser cannot notify me about new mail.

        The web browser cannot update my new mail icon on my home screen, nor can it make the LED blink to notify me of new mail.

        Smartphone users, and I would go as far as to say especially BlackBerr

      • Javascript is clunky and slow. The computer based browsers may be having a speed war, but on the phone browsers are still either painfully slow or crippled and don't handle Javascript well. On android the gmail app is a great example of that. It's much faster to press a button that fires up the app than to log into gmail, wait for not only the messages to download but the interface as well.

        The only exception I have found so far is Facebook. That has to be the poorest app on any platform and I typically log

      • by DrXym ( 126579 )
        More likely it's a combination of things - Google putting the boot into a competitor, lack of interest in the app, uncertainty about the platform's future, lack of resources and everything else. Mostly I think Google is just putting the boot in.

        As for web browsers, yes you can produce a passable "app" from HTML5. However if you compare a native app like GMail, or Facebook to its mobile counterpart its usually the native app which stands out as being the most usable and responsive. Simple example, in nativ

      • Maybe, but the browser app should be persistent, so you can still type and read some of your emails when you're not connected to the network, and have it send and receive stuff when you are.

        The other problem with browser apps is that they're often little more than web pages formatted for mobile devices. Even small latency and load times become an issue when every action you take requires a whole new page load in real time.

  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <> on Thursday November 10, 2011 @07:20PM (#38017620) Homepage Journal
    I'll say that the gmail app isn't as universally useful on the blackberry as the gmail webpage. The biggest problem with it is that it is permanently linked to having data service available through your wireless carrier, while the webpage can work through your wireless carrier on a data plan, or anywhere that you have wifi (and most blackberries have had built in wifi for some time now). The webpage is at the point where it is very useful for the blackberry, and it supports at least two different modes for the phone depending on your needs as well.

    So really, this isn't a big deal. Not to say that RIM isn't in trouble, but losing an app that wasn't that great to begin with isn't a huge blow to blackberries.
    • by beset ( 745752 )
      I think I must have been one of the few users to like the Gmail app.

      It's great for a number of reasons:

      1) It doesn't weigh down your BB with loads of email in the core system
      2) You load it up when YOU want to read your email, not when the email comes through
      3) Closing it is a nice way of forgetting about work
      4) You could search all your old mail

      I actually got stuck in Madrid airport without BIS quite recently, so I tried the mobile web version of gmail. It was a terrible experience - it was unre
      • I'm not sure we're in the same conversation, here. I am talking about using the web version of gmail instead for the gmail app.

        1) It doesn't weigh down your BB with loads of email in the core system

        Accessing gmail on the web doesn't, either.

        2) You load it up when YOU want to read your email, not when the email comes through

        Which is exactly how I use gmail on the web.

        3) Closing it is a nice way of forgetting about work

        I just point my browser to a different web page ... though more importantly what person of marginal sanity uses gmail for their work email?

        4) You could search all your old mail

        OK, this I haven't tried yet. I don't have all that much mail in my gmail account, and I can easily find what I need without using a search function.

        I actually got stuck in Madrid airport without BIS quite recently, so I tried the mobile web version of gmail. It was a terrible experience - it was unresponsive, the ui was too big, yet too cluttered, waiting for 2 pages to reload every time you wanted to look at a new email etc etc was a pain. And this was on wifi on Blackberrys latest and greatest (9900)


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 10, 2011 @07:23PM (#38017636)

    The Gmall app is bu©ggy and slowý
    Posting this via my Blackbýerry Býold

  • [See title]

    [With a "BB-sucks-and-Google-KNOWS-IT-chaser..Toss in a WebOS comment and a RIM/HP merger-idea, for good measure]

    Waiiiit a minute. That's almost crazy enough to work.

  • They're not pulling any app or email service, they're stopping development on a standalone Gmail app for BlackBerry, You can already get Gmail in the standard mail app and will continue to be able to do so.
  • Wary of this... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @07:30PM (#38017674) Homepage Journal

    'building a great Gmail experience in the mobile browser.'"

    Seems to be a function of time that Google's products become worse; more whizzy, but add no value; useable interface replaced by inexplicable interface and really useful, neat ideas, are not implemented in favor or more cruft.

  • It's dead jim... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @07:30PM (#38017676) Homepage

    Honestly they failed to evolve. It's their own fault for not moving foreward.

    The last couple of blackberry's were great, but it was too little too late. Many many corporations are switching to Android phones and iphones that do a lot more WITHOUT the horribly overpriced special blackberry server and service fees.

    They not only missed the boat, they priced themselves out of the market.

    • Lets not forget that that horribly overpriced blackberry enterprise server was also buggy as *ell and a complete bear to support. I can't count how many times I got paged to log in and restart the blackbery server service because it crashed for some unexplained reason so my bosses could get email. Now they have Iphones and Droids that just work and the blackberry server was retired...and I get a little more sleep.
    • Many many corporations are switching to Android phones and iphones that do a lot more WITHOUT the horribly overpriced special blackberry server and service fees.

      Yep. While I still use and like my BB, I *really* hate it that they don't let me use native BB mail application without BIS/BES. I just want to retrieve my mail over Wifi and this is something that is not possible on any BB device.

  • RIM's best bet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LoudMusic ( 199347 ) on Thursday November 10, 2011 @07:31PM (#38017682)

    I still think RIM's best bet is to make an enterprise grade 'app' for Apple iOS and Android to provide Blackberry style service on non-RIM hardware.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why not stay in the hardware game? They seem to be able to make attractive devices. Start producing their own Android handsets and only provide the Blackberry software with their handsets.

    • I still think RIM's best bet is to make an enterprise grade 'app' for Apple iOS and Android to provide Blackberry style service on non-RIM hardware.

      That is actually a really good idea for them. Unfortunately there is probably someone at RIM who looks at that idea and views it as being parallel to going from being Microsoft (where they were years ago) to being Novell (where they could potentially end up under that idea). And right now, not even Novell wants to be Novell.

      They don't seem to see that the alternative - if they do nothing - will end up with them being like Palm.

      • by Rix ( 54095 )

        Palm will be back. They get bought out by some huge, doomed megacorporation every decade or so. Remember US Robotics? HP actually owns them now, too.

        RIM will be the next Nortel.

  • Well, its a dick move to kick someone while they're down, but its sound business.
  • What does Netcraft have to say about RIM?

  • "Google on its official apps update blog stated that the company will now be focusing on 'building a great Gmail experience in the mobile browser.'" ...and a crappy experience anywhere else. The new-look Gmail is horrible. Takes me back to the 1990s. Is this where the Internet is headed?
  • This article is junk. My Blackberry comes with INCREDIBLE support for gmail out of the box. Type your username and password, and you get your emails, calendar settings (that automatically go into your berry calendar), your filters, categories, starred items all work. I never installed the gmail app, so no big loss to me or any other blackberry owner.

    Getting sick and tired of people telling me my phone is outdated and then watching them take 3 times as long as me to send an email or make a post. My cowor

    • by jbolden ( 176878 )

      BB is a terrific texting and email phone. Far and away the best texting and email experience even compared to texting phones.

      I can type pretty fast on my iPhone using a the smart keyboard (an app). I touch type on a normal sized keyboard so eyes closed wouldn't matter on a regular keyboard, I never got that good with the phone but I easily could have.

      Anyway if you care about typing why move away from a physical keyboard?

  • . . . to buy RIM this quarter.
  • I'll be the first to admit that the Gmail app isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer but IMHO it is a much better experience than the terribly mischaracterized 'great Gmail experience in the mobile browser' on my 9700. The Gmail app is one click to see all of my incoming mail and to easily search and retrieve current or archived mail is another click with the refresh times an order of magnitude better than going through the browser or using the RIM mail app for Gmail. The Gmail app at least had a slight '
    • by swalve ( 1980968 )
      There is an option to separate out the different email boxes on the phone. Been like that for a long time now.
  • Usually the first app I loaded on a new blackberry. Basically just worked, not sure why so many here are negative about the app. Now if only google maps would return to showing traffic correctly.

    I guess i'm a little confused as to why a basically completed app would be discontinued. Anyone with Google insight care to share the actual thought process behind the decision?

    My hope is that the native BB mail app connects to mail the same as the Gmail app, meaning shows read emails correctly and has the contact's

  • The article was unclear - does this just mean the crappy GMail app, or Google Apps Sync for BB, which syncs contacts and calendar to a (paid?) Google Apps account?

    Losing Google Apps Sync would make some of my clients extremely unhappy...

    • It just means the app. Given Google's desire for Google Apps to be taken seriously in the enterprise I doubt the BES Connector will be discontinued any time soon.
  • ... is google evil yet?
    • What were the reasons for Google? Apart from the obvious that their decision that also happened to stab a competitor in the eye.

      I just 'upgraded' my gmail to a slightly new interface, which apparently is motivated by the new Android-slates, and a long-term goal of insulation of the Google platform from the hardware.

      To me it appears RIM was convenient roadkill, not a goal in itself.

      • If people use the web app, they are likely to be logged in during their whole browser session, giving more valuable data to google via google apis, google analytics etc. I wouldn't be surprised if Google provides a really great web application which will run very well on Blackberry as well. Googles core business is advertisement and data collection; I don't think it bothers them much if people are using Blackberry or Android, as long as Google gets the data and provides the ads.

  • Google needs to be broken up into smaller competitive companies. Rim is an excellent product, Just because they don't run Android is not a reason to abandon a company that helped them to grow.

    In the end Google will screw everyone with it's behaviour. I see it coming.

  • I think for Google this makes a lot of sense. Users of the GMail application are not necessarily logged in with their browser session when browsing the Internet. When they can be convinced to use the web application, this might change, greatly increasing the value of all data collected with google analytics, google apis and whatnot.

    From a consumer point of view this is a very good reason to dump my GMail account as soon as possible, before they close the imap access one day or make it in any other way less

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?