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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Great Idea In Search Of Great Connectivity

My now former cell phone (the Sony Ericsson K700i), which had been clinging to life (sans backlight) ever since it went inadvertently swimming last summer, apparently had one too many encounters with Tyler's sippy cup and finally gave up the ghost. So, I stuck with the Sony Ericsson line, which I like, and am now toting the W600, one of the "Walkman Phones." (Engadget re same.)

So far so good on the phone, it has all the functionality of the K700i in updated form — better camera, more memory, etc. And, with Cingular, it has the Edge Network, which touts itself as "nearly twice as fast as any other national wireless data network."

So, I was pretty hot to try out Gmail Mobile on the new phone, but alas: nearly twice as fast isn't nearly fast enough to make the mobile version of my favorite mail app a lifehack. Don't get me wrong, Gmail Mobile seems fantastic. I just suspect it's much more embraceable in countries with faster cellular data networks than the U.S. Here is your Gmail on Edge: the basic inbox is not terribly, but noticeably, slow to load, and though Gmail Mobile is designed to handle attachments, if you're trying to open an email with one (even a small one), it's downright painful. The better option seems to remain the one I've been using: forwarding Gmail to the phone's email address. I'd say it's going to take some speed oriented improvements to one or both services in order for Gmail Mobile to conquer the U.S. phone browser.

One killer thing should not be overlooked though, and I'll be willing to tolerate a little slowness in order to use this: with Gmail Mobile, you can search all the mail archived in your Gmail account. On your phone. That is bound to come in incredibly handy from time to time.

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