It’s a relatively quiet period for the mobile world. CTIA in Las Vegas is over, with few major announcements. We are still waiting for the Palm Pre to come out, and right now iPhone speculations are in overdrive. We won’t know for sure about the next generation iPhone until at least Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) in June. In the meantime, we have heard rumours of faster wireless (802.11n, maybe HSPA), Macbook-style unibody casing, better camera (3 or 5 megapixels) and more memory (32GB).
In a quiet announcement, Google has updated their mobile versions of Gmail. This was the functionality shown at a demo during Mobile World Congress back in February, which I attended.
Google has updated the user interface, made it faster to open messages, allowed for batch actions (like archiving multiple messages at once), and added some basic offline support. The best thing is, this is all done by taking advantage of features already present in the Webkit-based Safari Mobile and Android web browser. So you don’t need to install any new software (other than update your iPhone to the latest 2.2.1 firmware) for this. I would assume that this would also work on the Palm Pre.
The same type of improvements have also been applied to Google Calendar.
Google has shown what’s possible by just using what’s available : HTML5, CSS, etc. You can have interactive, fast and offline access to web services. You also get a consistent user interface over multiple devices. This is a good move for Google, as customer loyalties move from carriers and phones to the applications that we use every day.