When Android users switch over to Android Lollipop in the coming weeks, Google hopes Android’s Gmail app will be the only mail app most users will ever need.
Android Police recently published a video that will reportedly guide users through Gmail 5.0 when it ships with Android Lollipop. In that video, Gmail not only gets a material design makeover—bringing it in line with many other Android apps—but also the ability to connect to third-party email accounts such as Outlook.com and Yahoo. According to the video, Gmail will work with many other email services beyond just those two major webmail services.
The story behind the story: As Ars Technica pointed out a year ago, Google has a habit of replacing stock Android apps that are part of the Android Open Source Project with proprietary apps such as the switch from Gallery to Photos. By increasing Gmail’s capabilities, Google may be looking to kill—or at least ignore—Android’s stock email app, which got a major overhaul last November. Before that will be possible, however, Gmail for Android will need to handle specialized cases such as Exchange servers, or generic POP3 and IMAP accounts.
Gmail for all
From a user standpoint, the idea of using Gmail for all your webmail services sounds like a pretty good deal. Gmail has always been one of the best apps on Android and arguably the best mobile email experience period.
The ability to add outside accounts to Gmail means an easier email experience, plus you don’t have to wrangle with the stock email app, or individual mail apps from Microsoft and Yahoo.
The new Gmail app doesn’t appear all that different than what we have now in terms of navigation and usage. To get to the new accounts, you tap the “hamburger” menu icon in the upper left corner. Then just tap or flick horizontally on the account name to move from Gmail to Yahoo or other third-party account.
Other changes you can see in the video include switching the compose button from the top of the app to the bottom (the icon itself has changed too). And in the compose window, you now have an attachment icon you can tap instead of burying that functionality under the vertical menu icon.
Overall, the new Gmail apps looks pretty enticing. Hopefully the leaked video indeed represents what Google plans to ship with Lollipop.