At the Web 2.0 Expo a few weeks ago, Vic Gundotra showcased the new Gmail application for iPhone and Android and gave us a brief glimpse of what it would be able to do. Well a matter of days later Google
released the application to widespread applause. And why not? It’s got
a nicer interface, is quicker and has offline capabilities (and no,
this poor blogger has neither an iPhone nor an Android device an so is
relying on reports abut it’s ease and speed of use).
The new Gmail looks and feel like a “real” application but is
browser based – something that Microsoft has always claimed is best
achieved using local software (in fact Microsoft has moved on from
being dismissive of the iPhone to using it as an example of why
Software + Services is the correct approach).
Of course Google is pushing the envelope – utilising capabilities
that very few devices currently have – but these features will soon
become standard as HTML5 becomes adopted.
Over on GigaOm Stacey points out
that releases like the new Gmail portend of what users can expect to
experience on low level (read cheap) devices. While we all get excited
about the utility netbooks bring in terms of portability, we sometimes
omit to mention that utilising cloud based software we’re able to bring
a level of functionality that rivals that of desktop machines (and yes
– I’m conveniently ignoring those who need to do intensive graphics
work here – those folks (for the foreseeable future) will remain wedded
to their Macs).
I’m so looking forward to the day when the war between the PC gang and the Apple
fanboys is nicely put to the side by a bunch of lightweight chips
running on no-name boxes – a poetic end to what is much of the time a
marketing, rather than a functional, argument.