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MetroMail launches for Windows 8.1, brings native Gmail support in a Modern design

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MetroMail
111

MetroMail becomes the first full-featured Gmail app for Windows Phone 8

Let’s put aside a moment the disdain many here have for Google and their products. The fact is, a lot of businesses, companies, organizations and even individuals rely on Gmail for their email service and while Windows Phone supports Google Mail directly, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that Gmail has on the web.

This morning, MetroMail has become available for Windows Phone 8 users. Mind you, this is no web-wrapper, but a native client. We’ve been beta testing it for a few weeks now and indeed, it’s quite a robust app for those who need all the power of Gmail on their Windows Phone.

MetroMail comes from the developer behind MetroTalk, one of the best Google Voice clients for Windows Phone. He’s spent considerable time on the app, making sure it meets all the needs of those who need archiving, labels or stars on their messages.

MetroMail screens

Currently the app is running for $0.99 with no free trial, but before you recoil, this was done on purpose to limit the initial strain on the push server (yes, this is push Gmail). Later, a trial and perhaps even a free ad-supported version may come. Likewise for a Windows Store App version for you Surface fans. So what does MetroMail feature?

  • First-class support for archiving, starred emails, and labels
  • Support for inbox tabs (e.g. Primary, Social, Promotions)
  • No more broken threads when replying to emails
  • Server-side search functionality with support for advanced Gmail search operators
  • Toast notifications support for new emails
  • Support for multiple From addresses within the same account
  • Proper rendering of long HTML emails
  • Possible to concatenate multiple accounts under 1 unread counter (for use with a single live tile or the lock screen)

The app is slightly more sluggish compared to the barren native app on Windows Phone, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing when you consider that you’re getting the full Gmail experience. Scrolling is excellent, there is just a bit of delay to pull down the data for each message once you open it. The design of the app is very clean and should make most Modern UI fans quite happy.

MetroMail is just starting off too as the developer is already working on the first update, which should bring server-side drafts support, performance improvements, and attachments support (limited at first, and it could be “tricky”).

Over all, MetroMail is a solid start to a fully-featured Gmail client for Windows Phone. While a lot of users will be happy with the native client, for those who need a “power” app to access all of the Gmail tools, this may be your ticket.

Pick up MetroMail for Windows Phone 8 here in the Store. 99 cents, no free trial (coming later).

QR: MetroMail

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Reader comments

MetroMail becomes the first full-featured Gmail app for Windows Phone 8

111 Comments

That is why I won't buy it.  Even at 99 cents.  I should just move my Gmail account to Outlook, but my Gmail is tied to my business... and it makes it difficult to simply switch.

It still goes through Gmail... and I have to reply via Gmail.  I use Outlook 2013 as email client, so it's not that big of a deal.  I just have to deal with Google's baby-like business shenanigans when it comes to Windows Phone.

Add an alias through outlook.com. Traffic is still handled by them but since your not using their website they don't get ad $$ ;-)

Go to http://www.passport.net and get a passport for your Gmail account. Once you've done that, you should be able to sign into Outlook with your full Gmail account and sync everything. Your address won't change and you'll be able to reply from Outlook with it. I did that a long time ago and it works fine ;)

Nope. I did it yesterday for a friend. I know there are some places where it doesn't work anymore, but it can be done from the Outlook website as well.

If it's really a business, buy a domain name and have it hosted at outlook.com.  Honestly, whenever I come across a business that is backed by an @gmail, @hotmail, @yahoo, etc. domain name I tend to immediately have a negative view of that organization.  I am not sure if that's just me, but a domain name for a year costs roughly $40.  Hosting on outlook.com costs $0.  Seems like a good deal to me, but that's just me.

Yahoo and Hotmail, I'd say yes... but Gmail is used often in my profession. Majority of my contacts use Gmail. I'm not selling widgets. I work freelance and my clients would prefer a more personal email.

I don't believe you.

You can have your own domain, and still be a consultant.

I'd view anyone without a website or domain as not high enough quality to get my business. I even look out for decent websites for trades, such as tree surgeons, roofers etc. No local contact details or no decent website means I move on. It shows no committment if you can't simply be *rsed to make your own website and register your own domain then you fail IMO.

It won't be. It operates based on IMAP and it's an industry standard way to access emails. Unless GMail restricts its IMAP access or modifies its IMAP to a properietary one and thereby breaking multiple apps in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iOS and WP, this app will work. I'm skeptical of how push notifications work in this app, otherwise it doesn't violate Google T&C much I believe.

Yes. But the protocols are pretty much unchanged. AFAIK, they only ignore IMAP IDLE. Other than that, it should work like other IMAP clients on the desktop like Outlook and Thunderbird.

you mean 3rd party clients for google voice for windows phone? lol, they are shutting down 3rd party clients on android as well like grooveip. they are preparing voice integration with hangouts. simple as that.

shutting down 3rd party google voice apps somehow gets tied into the youtube situation as an argument to how google is "such and such" (in which i partially agree). while this might seem similar to the youtube app situation, it is also different. youtube - 99% official app on a different platform vs 3rd party clients on all platforms.

btw, i use spare phone and it works great. going to keep making calls until may 2014.

IDK.. But those punks at PA baned me for sticking up for WP.. They let those Android haters say what they want, and how they want it, but they wouldn't let me speak my mind.. I'm talking this to the supreme court❕❕

My school uses a gmail based account system and I was having a hard time getting my school email to play nicely with my Lumia so this is a godsend

If your school uses a Gmail based account system, it's likely google apps for business, so if you fiddle with the settings a bit you can get it to work perfectly with your WP8. Company I work for uses google for everything... Took a little playing around (I set the account up as an "advanced account")... But my email gets sent to my phone instantly, as well as the all-important calendar sync (we're very meeting centric ).

I'm glad this app is out there for those looking for a full GMail client.  I, on other hand have no interest in using anything remotely made from Google especially after the Youtube Fiasco.  - typed from Google Chrome.

I've always wondered this, why isn't there toast notifications for outlook/Hotmail? Even Gmail on the PC has it whereas Outlook/Hotmail on PC doesn't.

They do, but for some reason the default for notifications is for favorites only. You gotta change it in the settings.

Open the mail, options, Account, Live, and about half way down(it's a drop down bow right above the signature) is "show email notifications." Just change that to all email, it should show favorites only now.

I.. I can't find that option...

I go to the mail app, only one account there, so it opens to my Outlook right away, I open settings (no options button), it goes right to outlook settings, and then there are two buttons (sync settings, automatic replies), conversation on/off, a checkbox for showing replies in coversation for all synced folders, and then there is signature toogle and signature textbox and then two more checkboxes (bcc and light bg).

What am I missing???

I'm on Lumia 925, maybe different phones have different settings? I highly doubt that...

Ahh, there's the reason. It's because you're trying to do it on your phone. I "think" his solution was for Windows 8 in the start/metro environment. My original question was about having notifications for outlook through the "desktop" environment, but I guess this way works too, even if it does take me out of the desktop environment and into the metro environment once I click on the notification. As far as window phone goes, I don't think there is a way to get (toast) notifications for outlook.

I see. Thank you kind Sir for your answer, and for not calling me an idiot, which is usually the case on the internet.

Good day to all of you.

You're welcome...yeah, it gets pretty rough out there, but I still believe in the ability to have a discussion about things without it becoming nasty. It can still be very informative. In fact, I learned how to allow notifications for all messages in Windows 8, solely because you took the time to ask. So thank you. :-)

Now let's hope for more of these. I've been saying for a while that we need more quality third party mail clients like iOS & Android does. Would love to see a Yahoo mail or Outlook app next.

I'd. Laugh my ass off if Microsoft beat them to the punch and locked it down. In all honesty though, as an educated consumer (or how I like to ser myself, at least), I switched all my main mail and account tie-ins to Hotmail. I've pretty much grown tired of the "who? Me?" act being put on by Google.

I'm pretty sure that was not said or implied. Fact is, some people need the advanced features of Gmail--that I specifically mention--that are not available in the built in client. It's not an optional "hey isn't this nice" thing but a requirement. If a full client works but is slightly slower, so be it...

When has it ever occurred that a more full-featured client was faster than a stripped down "basic" one? This is a stupid conversation, going to go have a coffee...

Dev here. Performance improvements are definitely coming, but in my opinion, the current iteration of the app is perfectly usable. Regarding using the native client with Gmail, I do believe that it can be sufficient for a lot of users. For many others though (such as myself), it is unfortuantely not.

I'm curious why the email client doesn't already to "tabs" in the same panoramic view. Instead of having to go to folders, it should just be a sideswipe to get to Spam and whatnot.

Whoo, it's nice to see the app finally go public! I've been a beta tester for a while now and it was fascinating getting to see it grow over the weeks. I've honestly stopped using the native mail client in favour of MetroMail, and I've seen little to no loss of functionality, save for the occasional hiccup.

Dev here. Performance improvements are definitely coming, but in my opinion, the current iteration of the app is perfectly usable. Regarding using the native client with Gmail, I do believe that it can be sufficient for a lot of users. For many others though (such as myself), it is unfortuantely not.
The beta will continue to be updated and always be either on the same level, or one step ahead of the public release.

I run my Gmail thru outlook account and am phasing Gmail put just use it for sites that will spam me

The ironic thing is that most people used to use Hotmail/Outlook.com for spam and Gmail as their primary email address.

It can't sync my school email, which runs off of Gmail. Plus the other features are a must when something like a school's (or work's) infrastructure is based around Gmail

have you logged into your gmail lately with the "inbox tabs (e.g. Primary, Social, Promotions)"? notice how the desktop browser experience and the windows phone email app displays your emails differently? the article lists 8 points.

personally, i dont need the app because i try to limit giving out my google account information to 3rd party clients. like you the native app is more than enough. however, i am pretty sure this is an almost perfect solution to those who desire an app that is similar to the official gmail app for android or ios.

Dev here. The native client can be sufficient for a lot of users, but unfortunately for many power users, it is not. The articles lists quite a few reasons why you may want to use MetroMail over the stock mail app.

Too bad Google's refusal to properly support the Windows platform caused me to leave their ecosystem long ago.  I enjoy outlook.com far more now.

Agreed, I only have my Galaxy Nexus for two apps now, Starbucks and Barclays Pingit. Once those are on Windows Phone then the Nexus will be retired.

Looks good. But the one reason I've favoured the built in client is the offline ability to read mails. Sigh. Then again, even the official Gmail app almost always needs you to be online on iOS.

Once an email/thread has been downloaded, you can definitely read it without connectivity. But for the app to refresh for newer emails, a connection is indeed required (i.e. it won't update itself in the background).

Screenshots look nice. There's another Gmail app that was recently updated but doesn't work all that well. That hasn't been pulled by google yet...

Maybe latter... I only use gmail for the crap "sign-ins" so i don`t really need such an app. Besides, knowing how those pricks at google are eager to bash the windows phone i wouldn`t be surprised if they decide this app somehow violates whatever BS they can think of and give it a hard time. 

Dev here. We are currently working on solving all problems. Please try again later or tomorrow. I apologize for the inconvenience!

"Currently the app is running for $0.99 with no free trial, but before you recoil"

It really frustrates me that people are not willing to pay 99 cents for great applications. FFS people, support developers! This entitled view that we should be able to get everything we want for free is rubbish. I've just bought a copy.

I agree, but its human nature. I released a free app recently, and its got more than 3000 downloads in a month. My paid app had just hit 20,000 after 14 months, even though its at the base pay step (us 99) and has 4+ star reviews. Doesn't matter - people don't want to pay, by and large anyway. This concept of 'supporting developers' is a niche-geek thing. Most casual users don't think in those terms.

It's insanity. I understand the need for a trial, but paying $0.99 for something you will use is an easy "yes".

I just wish there was a way to get people to realise the simple truth - developers are spend a lot of time perfecting the app for your pleasure, and giving them a dollar for their effort isn't going to break the bank, and will help fund more development, giving the end users better products.

Maybe some programs where people pay $20 to Microsoft and get $30 to spend on apps in return, with one condition - what they don't spend in 6 months will be given to random developers. This would be a great deal for consumers and gives them insentives to pay for the apps they like.
 

Now that I finally solved the problem of buying apps without a credit card I have no problem whatsoever paying for the apps I like/need.
Also, I read an article a few days ago which stated that windows phone users buy more apps than any other OS, yes even more than apple and way more than android.

Yes, there are for sure those willing to pay, or I would not have made anything off my app and its doing pretty well. But compared to Free downloads, its negligible.

Agree, and it is so easy for devs to make trial behavior, you have total freedom how that should work. It is fair for the users, to let them see how the app works for a few days, and its a benefit for the dev since it makes the app much more attractive. I do not understand apps without trial.

Why would I pay for something that doesn't work properly? I've done this to many times in the past where I purchased an app it gets a couple updates and then the dev stops supporting it and it doesn't even work as it should. They should be enforced that if there gonna charge, they need go update it otherwise pull it from the stores. Simple. Until then I will not pay anymore.

Why would I buy this? I'm already going to lose out on what I paid for metrotalk. How about they don't charge the people that paid for metrotalk? Eh, I've stopped using google completely except for voice. Time to cut the cord. F*** google.

Dev here. Assuming you paid for MetroTalk 3 days ago, that means that you spent $1.99 for using a fully functional app for 6 months. That's 33 cents per month. The amount goes down if you bought the app earlier. Also, you are always welcome to ask Microsoft for a refund. If they cannot help you, feel free to email me and I'd be happy to do so.

I wasn't even allowed to say that i hate google? Why was my comment deleted? I'll say it again because it's true, i actively hate google due to it trying to hinder the user experience i have with my WP, (however much it pains me) i need google products in my life and they offer premium facilities for online video and internet search (i use bing, but google is good) until google do something good for me personally, i will continue to hate without apology........i was first commenter too *subtle gay brag* :P
P.s the only good thing to come of this is how developers make money from finding somewhat beautiful ways to bring the google products to WP, a big thanks from everyone and well done

so google products and services are needed to have a true windows phone experience? you mean you "actively hate" the situation where google will not develop apps for wp. just wanted to clarify.

seems like people secretly use or even love google products but openly hate google, the company.

Giving the evil empire permission to read, evaluate, categorize and then SELL my information to the spamming class from my Windows Phone is a non starter.

I need to say that to the developer who did this app, it looks grreat. I hope it does make the grade for those using Windows Phone but is still invested in google services.

If you pay for Google Apps, standard IMAP is possible and works across multiple devices and operating systems.  I've had working push mail on a Lumia 900, 920, 1020 and more recently an iPhone 5S.  Is it easier to just use a service that doesn't come up with some propietary implementation of IMAP like Outlook.com rather than Gmail?  Yes, if you are an individual user without your own domain and little to no reliance on Google.  

Opinion:

Outlook.com is cleaner than Gmail.com.  I would love to use Outlook.com with my domain and put the screws to Google however I have family members that have grown to like Gmail and they will not switch.  Because I pay $5/user on my account through Google I don't have to put up with a lot of the shortcomings of Gmail on my non-Android device.  I don't have to use their propeitary applications and can use built-in mail clients.  Searching the server for past emails works, my contacts sync properly and my calendar is up to date.  That is all I need, and is worth the $5 to me in order to use whatever I want.  

Will Google shut down this application in particular?  Probably, or they will invest in / buy out this company and rebrand it as an 'official' Gmail application for Windows Phone.  (Or replace it with a clone of the iPhone app)  Google has been "evil", but it is more about them as a company securing their intellectual properties and keeping things profitable.  Subjectively, Microsoft / Nokia have been just as guilty as of late.  Apple, Blackberry - anyone wanting to generate a profit really.  

After upgrading yesterday from the Lumia 920 to 1020, I lost my grandfathered in push email. I guess because I got the 920 November '12. This works fantastic and the interface is very familiar since I'm also a MetroTalk user. It was driving me crazy seeing new labels in GMail for deleted and sent messages.

Thanks to MetroMail, my migration from android to widows-phone (nokia-lumia920) is complete.

good gmail client being the only obstacle I faced on migration, got resolved by MetroMail.