Google beefs up Gmail for Android and Apple's iPhone

Gmail for mobile devices picks up new user interface, provides offline access

Google Inc. Tuesday announced an update of its hosted Gmail and calendar services for Apple Inc.'s iPhone and devices based on its own Android operating system.

The new Web-based version of the Gmail e-mail service includes a new user interface that makes it easier to use within the iPhone and Android browsers, said Shyam Sheth, a product manager for Google Mobile, in a blog post. The updated Web interface includes what Sheth called a "floaty bar" that keeps frequently-used features, like Delete and Archive, only a click away.

Sheth also noted that the updated Google Gmail service lets offline mobile device users open the Gmail application, write e-mail messages and open recently read e-mails. The updated Google Calendar can also be accessed by users who are offline.

Late in January, Google launched an updated version of Gmail that lets PC and laptop users access their accounts without an Internet connection. That service benefits users looking to get work done while on a plane, for instance.

Sheth noted that users can try out the updated Gmail and calendar tools by accessing in their mobile browser (that link only works on mobile handsets, not on PCs). Google's newly updated mobile apps are available on all Android-powered devices and on iPhones using Version 2.2.1 or higher of the iPhone operating system.

Google engineers are looking for feedback on the updated offerings at this Google Web site.

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