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A serious problem for me, Google and BlackBerry

I just found out that on 22nd of November, Google is going to discontinue their Gmail App for BlackBerry.

This is a serious, serious problem for me.

Ultra serious.

Let me explain.

I have 12GB of email in my personal Google Apps account.

I have 7GB in my Mobile Industry Review Google Apps account.

I want quick, easy access to that mail. I love the fact that *anywhere* in the world, I can query my Google mail through the BlackBerry app really quickly. It’s a bit clunky because Google seems to have stopped evolving the app — but it gets the job done and I’ve found it highly reliable.

I also need to be able to easily, easily ‘manage’ my mail. The BlackBerry Gmail app is one of the *quickest* ways of managing my email. Much of the avalanche of email that comes in needs to be reviewed-n-archived (simply press ‘e’) or deleted (‘d’) or starred for follow-up (‘s’). I can get through my email SO quickly with these little keyboard commands.

Come November 22nd, however, I’ll need to lump it. Luckily I’ll still be able to *use* the app, since I’ve got it installed on all my BlackBerries. However Google are actively *removing* the app — that is, on November 23rd, you won’t be able to find it to install it.

It’s an interesting move.

Why are you doing this Google?

Of course, the key point is that they’d rather I do everything in the browser. Or on Android. Both are shite experiences. There is no Android hardware — NONE — worth looking at from a messaging/email standpoint. They’re all tinpot shit experiences for me. I need the BlackBerry UI. I need to be able to get shit done quickly using a decent physical keyboard — something that is beyond every Android device ever marketed to date.

And the browser? Don’t make me laugh.

Of course the fundamental problem here is the abomination that is Gmail support on BlackBerries. Google Sync works like a dream on every BlackBerry I’ve ever owned. The calendars and contacts all update beautifully. The email, however, is a nightmare. It certainly works. Just, deletes don’t seem to sync. Ever. It’s been winding me up something chronic for a long time. And, because deletes don’t sync, email begins to pile up on my device so that every few weeks I need to actually delete my Gmail account on the device and set it up again. Just so it becomes usable.

It’s a bit of a mess, frankly.

The solution?

Well, I’ve been looking for a decent solution for a while. I think the answer is definitely to stay on BlackBerry for my primary messaging experiences. I don’t think there’s anything better.

Google, on the other hand, by making this decision have seriously annoyed me. It’s a real inconvenience. I spend a lot of money with them on Google Apps accounts and don’t expect to be dicked around in this manner.

I’ve been quite enjoying using the ‘connector’ for Google Apps that makes it work natively like BES on my BlackBerry. The biggest issue I have is that I can’t search my 12GB & 7GB of email data easily this way. That’s why I have the Gmail App on the BlackBerry.

What a flipping annoyance.

I’m going to take another look at Office365 and their BES connectivity.

Meanwhile, beyond glaring at Google (and BlackBerry, for not sorting out their Gmail Plugin), do you have any suggestions?

Update: Ben Smith over at Wireless Worker has this perspective.


  1. Ah right. Yeah. Still screwed. It looked ok on my screen. I have to reply from the flippin’ Gmail App at the moment on my BlackBerry.

  2. I won’t ask you to reply to this question then: Can you see MS mopping up the leftovers in the corporate world when blackberry comes falling apart? (they are below book value already) Seems their demise is accelerating. (I also have a Curve)

  3. I can see that happening if RIM don’t get their skates on.

    The main barrier (apart from the fact that RIM is so entrenched) for anyone is a really, really good physical keyboard!

  4. It’s quite extraordinary that Google would give less than a month’s notice of suspending a key application, especially given this affects paying customers of Google apps.

    Doesn’t really inspire you to trust and use Google’s solutions in the enterprise, does it?

  5. It really, really doesn’t Andrew. I’m particularly alarmed by it.

    It’s enough to push me to consider alternatives beyond Google. I really, really enjoy the search capabilities but this kind of unexpected, unilateral ‘just-use-the-flippin-browser’ news has me seriously looking at options.

  6. I am using the 5 dollar a month exchange plan 1 (office 365) and it comes with free bes, you get 25gb of storage space. screw google. they seem to be lumping the works into g+ now a days and im not exactly excited by being stuck in a beta test with a bunch of failing tech. 

  7. I am left speechless at this news, they normally announce cancellations 6+ months ahead. I guess they are wanting to close a bunch of smaller things. But I would guess gmail for bb is very popular. whats next google maps for bb? sheesh..   

  8. Can’t speak for Office 365 on Blackberry, but using it since beta with Android and it is excellent. So far perfect sync of contacts amd email. Adding Toodledo, Ceptara Organiser and Ultimate To-Do List add sophisticated task sync and time recording to the mix.

  9. My perfect Android or Windows Phone would have a slide out keyboard. It baffles me why anyone would want to rely on a touchscreen keyboard, however ‘good’ they get they are never even close to a physical keyboard.

  10. It doesn’t address your search issue, but I can manage my inbox from the blackberry mail app fine, all deletions there sync perfectly back to gmail – I suggest checking your setup.

  11. The Gmail apps seems to have disappeared already from the US BlackBerry app store.  I can’t find it on my older Curve or newer Bold.  I’m shocked that they would do this and I think it’s going to burn a lot of bridges.  BTW I’ve never once been able to get the read/unread to sync quickly let alone in 6+hrs from the native email app to Gmail on my computer browser.  It’s been a huge gripe of mine for years.  This is BB and Gmail for pete sake, not some local ISP email service.  

    Lastly Ewan, I’m not able to comment on Disqus on the iPad.  I doubt it has anything to do with you or the site and it’s just a Disqus issue but I figured you should know.  

  12. Just so you know. You need to sign up for a 30 day trial of office 365 (e3) plan, its free heh.  It might be USA only for the bes program not sure. I am using a usa address for my trial.  They key is, it HAS to be a NEW 365 Account, existing ones CANT participate. After 30days You can downgrade it to an EXCHANGE PLAN 1 (5 dollar a month per user) and keep the bes functionality.  Thats quite cheap for BES+EXCHANGE works for me 🙂
     Signup for the new account, try it out. I liked it enough I moved 30+ people to it so far. and @ 5 dollars of 3.5 quid a month it wont break the bank for corporate bes.  BB clouds services IS in BETA, sometimes bb cloud activation is PITA.  Your Blackberry can be on EITHER BES/BIS mobile subscription works with the 5 quid a month uk payg BB subs too 🙂 enjoy.


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