in Applications, Mobile Phones

The perfect mobile e-mail application

gmail java applicationIf you are not a road warrior corporate user with one of those fancy BlackBerry (Web Site) device, and still want to be able to access you several e-mail accounts there are several options you can look at:

This is one of the latest addition the mobile java e-mail clients. You can download your own copy of the application pointing your web browser http://gmail.com/app. Very nice application with a clean Google User Interface. Please note that the links to download the application will only work from your phone wap/web browser.

Another Java based e-mail client. This does not come for free since it will cost you 2.95 USD per month. The application comes in two different flavor. A very simple one without support for sending attachments or taking picture from inside the application and a more complex one with those functionalities turned on. This application will support different e-mail accounts at the same time.

Still Java. Several e-mail accounts are supported at the same time. My personal opinion is that the User Interface is less attractive compared to Gmail and MovaMail. Unfortunately attachments are not supported. You can user it for free.

Java, again. The main feature of berggi is that it can be installed on low end devices without problems (not personally tested). It does not support any kind of attachments but integrates support for Instant Messaging and free text messaging. From this point of view it’s not only an e-mail client but something different. This application will cost you 9.99 USD a month.

I think these are the main applications you may want to give a chance.

Some considerations:

  • Too often the native email application on your phone has poor performance and very bad user interface but has some major advantages that will become clear if you will continue to read.
  • You need to remember that all of these application will require data enabled in your plan. Depending on what plan you are on you may have to pay for data transfer and some operator are really expensive outside their walled garden.
  • Even if there are applications that allow you to send attachments it’s very difficult that the Java security model chosen by the operator will allow you to access the phone memory. The same will happen, in most cases, for the access to your camera. This will not happen with the native email client.
  • You cannot put (today) a Java application in background. Every time you will need to access you e-mail you will need to launch the application. Moreover you will not be able to get automatic check for new mails. (Several native email application support this). You cannot get any kind of push email as well. This will not happen with the native email client.
  • The Java security model will ask you permit to access data connection every time the email application will try to access the data network. Depending on the implementation on your phone you will be asked for this one or several times during your session. If you are a heavy user this will become annoying very soon. This will not happen with the native email client.

Is there anything innovative in this scenario? I think yes.

One of the thing that you learn in an innovation team is that innovation does not really require to build extraordinary new things. You can take what you have in a different shape and that is innovation toot.

In mobile email the bits and pieces are already all there, they simply need to be combined in a different way.

Here’s my innovative email client:

  • Native application. I really am in love with Java but for this application I would go with a native email client.
  • Can manage different email accounts from one single place.
  • Gmail like user interface.
  • Attachment management without limitations in size. (Ok, on this I’m quite lucky since I’m running on HSDPA)
  • Flat rate data plan.
  • Automatically check for new mail on a regular basis.
  • Integrated access to phone camera.
  • Sometimes I may want transcoding of attached files. That’s a difficult one, specially if you are using standard email services.

Is this innovative? No, if you look at any single piece. It may be innovative if you may get all together.

As often happens in the mobile world the support from the operator is critical to the success.

Why do I blog this?

This is a good example of how innovation may reuse existing stuff to create new and different products and services. Reusing what you already have should be a consistent part of the innovation process.

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