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Gmail gets a makeover for iPhone and Android

In a post to the Google Mobile blog this morning, Google Mobile Engineer Joanna KcKinley announced the next generation of mobile Gmail. Starting today, the popular webmail service has a cutting-edge mobile interface that’s sure to turn some heads.

The new finger-friendly interface has been redone from the ground up. Google has added improvements like better labels, an easier search function, and a “floaty bar” that enables easy selection of multiple messages. The entire interface is more than just user-friendly — it’s also technically advanced, taking advantage of emerging Web technologies like HTML5 and Google Gears.

Gmail gets a makeover for iPhone and Android

Gmail’s remade interface is clean and easy to use. It can also be much more convenient than using the iPhone’s built-in Mail program. Links in E-mails open a new Safari tab, rather than launching a new application, making switching between E-mail and Web browsing much easier. On the iPhone Google is using Safari’s native database storage format to cache messages for offline viewing, so E-mails can be always accessible even the a network isn’t. On Android the new Gmail uses Gears to store messages for offline use.

Any Android device or iPhone/iPod touch (OS 2.2.1 or above) should be able to view the new interface by visiting gmail.com. Google Apps users can visit mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.

Since both the iPhone and Android use a WebKit-based browser, a large chunk of the rich mobile Web is essentially a stable target. The fact that WebKit features such fantastic HTML5 support bodes well for the new spec — if phone developers can see the light, widespread desktop adoption can’t be far behind.

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