My experience with the new Gmail Mobile

Like others who are current users of the web-based Gmail Mobile, the net-net experience with the new Java-based Gmail client isn’t great. It looks nice and it does a number of things that I’ve always wanted to be able to do with the web-based version (easier lookup of email addresses, mark messages as spam), but this is a case of two steps forward, five steps back. Some of the issues that I’m having are issues with my Windows Mobile 5.0 JVM (I have a Cingular 2125):

* My Java Midlet Manager constantly asks me / prompts me if it’s OK to the access the Internet. How do I get rid of these prompts and just tell it to log me in when it needs to log me in?

* How do I get text entry to default to T9? Right now, I have to change the setting everytime I enter a textarea / textbox to enter an e-mail address or a message. On a related note, getting into a text box requires too many clicks! Click in the Gmail Java Client and then click again in Windows Mobile to edit the textarea. And then two ‘accepts’ when I want to get back to the Gmail Java Client.

* How do I link directly to Gmail from my main menu rather than having to go through the midlet manager?

* And, like Paul mentions in his post (linked to above) the context switch from my mobile web browser is a pain.

* Related to the context switch, the back button on my phone doesn’t behave the way I expect it to. When I hit back, rather than taking me to the previous screen in the Gmail Java client (which is how the web-based version works), it takes me out of the midlet manager. Ack!

I’m looking forward to iterative upgrades to this client. The client gives a glimpse at a superior class of mobile web experiences, but it also reveals the (fixable) shortcomings of today’s mobile phone platforms.