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.
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).
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