Back in November, Google got us all excited when they released their much awaited native app for Gmail in the App Store. Unfortunately, the excitement was quite short-lived when we found out that it was just a wrapper around their iPhone web app.
Though we think that the web app for Gmail is one of the best web apps for the iPhone, we expected the native Gmail app to be more than just a wrapper around the web app. If that wasn’t enough, it had some serious limitations such as lack of support for multiple accounts.
Developers of Sparrow – an extremely popular email client for Mac that offers Gmail integration with multiple accounts, labels, Priority Inbox and a Unified Inbox have released their much-awaited app for the iPhone.
It includes the following features:
- Full IMAP support:
Use your Gmail, Google Apps, iCloud, Yahoo, AOL, Mobile Me and custom IMAP accounts.
- Unified Inbox
All your mails in a unique mailbox.
Directly attach photos & images when composing a mail. No more cumbersome back and forth with your photo library.
- Up & down your conversations
Swipe up or down on a message to navigate a conversation.
- Everything is a swipe away
Swipe once to uncover your mailboxes, labels and folders.
Swipe again to get to your account list.
Mail is much nicer with your friends’ profile pictures.
- Message swipe
Star, add a label, archive or delete a conversation right away simply by swiping a message.
- Smart contacts
Your most frequent contacts on top of the list.
- Quick mailbox switch
Navigate between your inbox, unread and favorites by tapping/swiping the top bar.
- Mark all as read
One click to rule them all. You can also press a message for a few seconds to mark it as read/unread.
- Thread view
Tap the top bar in the conversation to quickly navigate all messages in a thread.
- Pull to refresh
Finally, the simplest way to refresh comes to email.
- Priority Inbox support
Automatically identify your important email and separates it out from everything else.
Have a pro and a private mail address? Use alias to keep things separated.
- Powerful search
Local and remote search allow you to find the mail you’re looking for.
Sparrow for iPhone is available in the App Store for $2.99 [direct App Store link].
The only downside (and it could be a big one for many users) to what would have been a perfect email app for the iPhone (at least for Gmail users) is the lack of push notifications. The developers have explained why their iPhone app doesn’t support Push Notifications yet. It also doesn’t support POP3, so you won’t be able to setup your Hotmail, MSN or Live account like the Mail app.
Sparrow for iPhone + push notifications is the native Gmail app that Google should have ideally released. Sparrow will find it a little difficult to compete with the free Mail app with the lack of push notifications support, even though it offers Gmail features that are not available in the Mail app.
The Verge has a nice video review of the app, which we’ve embedded below: