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Monday, August 17, 2009

Any power user of email on the iPhone knows that one feature sorely lacking is true push email notification , at least where Gmail is being used as the mail provider. GPush is an app that looks to bridge that gap.

The UI is simple. Basically the end user enters his or her Gmail login ID and password, and awaits a confirmation from the GPush servers that the configuration is accepted. GPush encrypts login credentials for those who may be concerned with secure transmission of user ID and password.

GPush does exactly what it claims to do. When an email reaches the GMail account, a push notification is sent to the user's iPhone. This is a feature we in the enterprise space have come to expect from email clients on mobile phones since the advent of Blackberry and ActiveSync technologies. Why Apple didn't integrate IMAP push is anyone's guess, although I suspect battery life was a concern.

However, the GPush app should if anything improve battery life by allowing users to disable email polling on the iPhone client side. Whether or not this is the case remains to be seen, as I have just implemented GPush on my own device today.

I like what I see so far, but I do have some requested enhancements. First of all, I'd like to be able to configure GPush for multiple accounts. It does not appear to allow me to do that. Secondly, I'd like to have a button on the push notification that automatically opens the mail client instead of simply showing me an OK button which really does nothing but close the dialog box. As it is now, I have to close the box, open GMail and refresh the client. And lastly, I'd like a way to clear the badges off of the GPush icon other than turning them off entirely.

All in all, GPush is a great app for GMail users. I think $0.99 is a stellar price. I'd like to see Apple eventually build this into the mail client, but until they do, I expect GPush will stay prominently on my iPhone.

UPDATE: it seems that I am having to reauthenticate into the GPush servers every 30 minutes or so. Tweets from the GPush team indicate that they're working on some issues, so I will assume they know about this one. Hopefully they've rectified it soon.

.: posted by Dave 9:52 AM

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