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Native Gmail app coming to iPhone, iPad?

Android advantage may soon be undermined

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The word on the street is that a Gmail app for iOS is about to hit Apple's App Store. If true, not only would iPhone and iPad Gmailers benefit, but Android device makers would lose one of their advantages over Apple's iDevices.

This tantalizing tidbit comes from the personal blog of TechCrunch columnist MG Siegler, who reports that "mulitple sources" have told him that a native Gmail app is on its way.

"In fact," he writes, "I believe it has already been submitted to Apple for review."

Gmail users on iPhones and iPads currently have access to their accounts through a decent mobile web app, and there are third-party apps such as those from Idemfactor Solutions and Nicholas Schlueter, but if Siegler's sources are correct, Google's native iOS app will offer a host of Gmail features in full Googly fashion.

Push notifications, for example, which are absent in the Google web-based iOS Gmail client.

While Apple's iOS Mail for iOS 5 is an improvement over its earlier incarnation – formatting and flagging, for example – a native Gmail iOS app might best it with such features as the color-coding that exisits in Gmail for Android, improved search and filtering, the ability to zip through mulitple profiles, message prioritization, and more.

Of course, those features will be possible only if Siegler's sources are correct, a native Gmail iOS app actually exisits, and if Apple actually approves it. When The Reg contacted Google, a spokeswoman declined to comment.

And remember: Cupertino and Mountain View haven't been known to be the best of buddies when it comes to Google apps and iOS.

What's more, if a native iOS Gmail app does hit the App Store, it will level the playing field between Google's Android and Apple's iOS.

Does Google want to expand Gmail's reach at the expense of its Android partners? We'll see. ®

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